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ASK MATT
And Cheap Pampers August 30, 2006

Matthew Demers - 17:00 EST

WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME!

This is RPGamer's Q&A section, in the very off-chance that you've never been here before. This is where we discuss all things even remotely RPG-related, and flutter excitedly on and on about the latest news and rumours. If you're feeling competitive, too, and you'd like to have the chance at winning escalating prizes including a new copy of Final Fantasy XII, you should give SOCK a try! More than 140 people have participated so far, it's incredibly easy to start playing, and there have been many winners already.

Also, I want to congratulate BigWook on becoming the first full guest-host of the Weekday Q&A! He did a really great job yesterday. See, BigWook's been a longtime SOCK player and he's very, very good at it by now; the win was more than deserved. Best of luck in the weeks to come!

And now... I'm back. I guess that means it's my turn to answer some e-mail! Let's get to it.




LETTERS
Boat-misser!


Hi there Matt and possibly BigWook as well, depending on if Matt ships it BigWook's way or not ^^;;

Matt

Ah, sorry. I had fired off the letters to BigWook before you sent yours in, and the same thing happened with another reader too. I apologize! That's exactly why I try to tell everyone in advance that we'll have a special guest hosting. Maybe next time, though!

On the upside, this means that I get the honour of answering your latest e-mail. What do you have for me?

I thought I'd chime in that I started DoC earlier today and while it isn't my favorite game or genre it doesn't play too badly, for the first time in history I've played a shooting game and I haven't died yet !.! I'm so happy, though I didn't hear that song they play in the commercials anywhere in the game thus far, a big contrast from FFX-2 and KH ^^''

Matt

I'm glad you're enjoying some things about it, Arros. I've talked to several people who have played the game, or even played through the game, and the general consensus is "while it isn't GREAT, it's okay for these reasons". I've also heard that it's too easy, which might be good for you, if you're anything like me; I'm an absolute klutzy mess when it comes to first-person shooters, and I thought that I had escaped them by coming to work here. Dammit!

Further more last night I finished Riviera: The Promised Land after about a year or so absense from playing it and to my surprise I actually enjoyed it and got used to the limited item space, so I guess what Matt said about taking a break from a game then returning to it can make it a more worthwhile experience, granted I don't remember half of chapter 2 or any of chapter 1 but that doesn't matter

Matt

Indeed. Sometimes, you just need a bit of a rest! The same thing happened to me with Radiata Stories: I managed to finish it off over the past weekend, even though I hadn't played it for months before last week. That's not too bad, eh? Two RPGs in two weeks? It's not often that I can manage to make that much progress in the "War On Backlog" so quickly!

On the topic of what I liked about Kingdom Hearts, honestly when my ex told me about all those many years ago after she read about it in some magazine, I did some scouring online because I didn't believe her which is what caused me to rediscover RPGamer ^^;; anyway I got it for two reasons 1) to see what the end result of the marriage of Disney and FF would be and 2) because Sephiroth Cloud and Aeris/Aerith were in it, I'm a sad man, it definately wasn't the gameplay which went from boring hack and slash to holy ----ing ---- ------------ how do you win this ----ing battle in a heart beat with some of the boss fights(Evil Riku still gives me nightmares and I know the spiel before the battle by heart...), I for some reason enjoyed the story as well which is why I got KH2 and CoM

Matt

Ah, but you see, that's how many feel! The gameplay may not be the most outstanding in history from time to time, but the plot is totally worth it. Can millions of fans be wrong? Don't ask me that question...

Also Square has made some ok action games, I for one liked Secret of Mana and sad to say but outside of the camera(and the hoprrible voice acting) Musashi: Samurai Legend wasn't too bad, I liked going arround learning new techs from the baddies, though KH and FMA and Drakengard and Threads of Fate and Vagrant Story and Legend of Mana... weren't good games in some respects... yeah I didn't really enjoy too many of Square Enix's action rpgs

Matt

How do you feel about Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, or to mention it again in the same letter, Radiata Stories? While both were flawed, neither was terrible. Also, Mana-lovers: Children of Mana is nearly upon us! Arros, you might just have another chance to try and change your opinion!

As far as the three FFs go I'm certainly getting 3 and 12 but I think I'll pass on 5 for right now, along with half the other RPGs we are having gushing out at us, which will go on my christmas wishlist and then I'll have to hope my mom doesn't strangle me ^^;;

Matt

Oh, I definitely know that feeling. I'm going to need one of those medieval scrolls-of-nearly-infinite length to write out everything I want this year. Of course I won't get it ALL, but what are Boxing Day sales for? Oh wait, you Americans don't even celebrate Boxing Day, do you? I'm sure you have post-Christmas sales nonetheless. Anyway, this is such an awkward paragraph that I have no choice but to move on.

Also as far as the plot barriers go grah I hate those, they should just let you go to the next town or dungeon or whatever but if you hadn't cleared the previous plot point then the plot wouldn't continue but you could still pilage for treasure(Arros loves treasure ^^) as well as buy newer equipment, it shouldn't too hard to write some extra dialogue just in case you get there early, also has anyone noticed in the time it takes to go get the Mythical Treasure of Scralgor your party could have just rebuilt the bloody bridge themselves or made a boat or offed that annoying guard... <.< >.>

Matt

...or stepped over the little puppy blocking the way... or walked off the road and around the sleeping Snorlax... or said "shut up, Mr. Character, we're going to this new location anyway!"

As far as RPG songs that sort of sound like regular songs that one song from FFX-2 that plays when you fight Leblanc sounds alot like Get down tonight when it starts off at least it does to me ^^;; but that is the only example I know of ^^

Matt

Mmmm, what a fun battle theme! It reminds me of one of the harder boss fights of the game, where you're fighting her and her two cronies underground somewhere. I got creamed in that fight not once, but twice! How embarrassing.

As far as a FF character that should have their own game I'd say Kefka purely for nuking stuff and doing insane cackles ^^ non totally evil characters aside I think Kain from FF4 could use his own adventure since it looked like he was about to set out for something during the end of FF4, plus as I've said before the good guy turned bad guy turned back good is always a favorite of mine

Matt

Yeah! What sayeth thou about a DS game where you control Kefka by drawing Light of Judgment paths across the world map and laughing into the microphone in order to progress the plot? Uweeheeheeheeheeheehee! You could even play a "pieces of Vector Tetris" minigame to create your own tower. I love it!

Hmm now for a question ^^

What are your thoughts on the henchman type villians in an RPG?

You know those sort of evil, coniving bumbling fools the main baddies keeps arround for no real reason, I find them to be annoying as all hell but I love when they finally bite the dust, especially when it's in unexpected ways ^^

Arros Raikou
*Can't seem to stop typing some days ^^*

Matt

Aha! Just like Leblanc's two? I love 'em, and I wish that more games had 'em. Of course, I think that most already do in some form. My favourite? Fawful, from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, hands down. He was the most bizarrely random character of all time, and I love him. I think that half the reason I didn't like M&L:PiT as much as the first is because his little cameo was so shockingly terrible.

Anyway, that's all! I gladly await your next letter.



Short letters are good, too! On the other hand, just wait until tomorrow... sigh.


XENOSAGA EPISODE III!!!!!!!!!!

Much love,

~ Deshy


Matt

Oh Desh.

I would do anything to be able to have it and play it right now!! The stores don't get it until tomorrow here in Canada, and besides which, my brother (ugh) is going to buy it and lend it to me after he's finished with it. That'll give me a chance to buzz through Disgaea 2, which I'm excited about, but not quite as excited as I am for the sprachtiness of Zarathustra and such.

Does anyone else have their paws on Xenosaga III yet? If so, I swear I'll kill you if you spoil it for me. Yes, you. <3



Some of these hypothetical questions are impossibly hard to answer.


Greetings, oh Slime of Amazement!

I have beaten Dirge of Cerberus, and I must say, the game was amzingly great from beginning to end. Yes, the controls are a little hard to get used to...okay...really hard to get used to (the game's major flaw), but I can overlook some frustrating moments as long as my blood keeps pumping. Dirge sports some truly amazing visuals, a great story, and some nice FPS/RPG gameplay, that's simple enough for those who aren't fans of the FPS genre (me) to pick up. I recommend it to anyone who wants Final Fantasy...with a twist.

Matt

Aha! Another happy Dirge of Cerberus player! Perhaps the fans are lapping it up a little more than the reviews might indicate at first, no? I'm glad you're enjoying it, Donovan!

On a completely non-game related note, I just saw V for Vendetta and I absolutely loved it as well! The story of the movie was quite good, in my opinion, and V and his cohort Evey Hammond were quite memorable. I think the movie just screams for a *WELL MADE* action game.

Matt

It's true. I really enjoyed the movie too, because I like movies that visualize the near-future. I found it exciting. And do you know who I sat besides while watching it in the theatre back in March? Andrew! Andrew, the ex-Q&A host! Now that was a fun weekend.

Matt, what about you? If you could only have *one* game this whole season...which would you pick? Would it be FF3...or maybe FF 12? Or maybe...something totally *not* Square-Enix?? Let me know!

~Donovan


Matt

Oh my. What a cruel question!

After thinking it over, I'd have to go with Xenosaga: Episode III. Why do I say that? I've played Final Fantasy games, and I've played the demo. It might end up being amazing, but who knows? Final Fantasy III... well, I've already played that in the past, and the same goes for Final Fantasy V. Despite the updates, they're still going to be games that I already know, so I don't think I could go with them. I'm happy about Disgaea II, but I've also heard it's just more of the same. Xenosaga III, on the other hand, looks to tie up all of the loose ends and bring the story of Shion and KOS-MOS to a close- a story I've been following for the last three years! I can't come so far only to miss the last chapter, and besides, it appears from all accounts that Episode III represents a huge improvement in almost every way over Episode II.

Thus, I must say that after much thought, that would be my choice. Thanks, Donovan!



More on Dirge. We're on the verge of a Dirge surge! AHAHAH!


I was a hair premature on my DoC take, but I made no effort to hide the fact that I had only played for three hours. Having finished it, on a scale of one to Awesome I give it a "Pretty cool." It's not without its faults, and the dialogue only barely got better; really who couldn't have gone without this exchange:?

Reeve: Where are you going?
Vincent: Niebelheim.
Reeve: But that's where...

That's where what, Reeve? Oh yeah, where *all the significant backstory of the entire saga* takes place. And nobody needed your thinking it out loud to remind them.


Matt

True enough. Of course, you forget that perhaps there are some people out there who just casually played Final Fantasy VII back in the day who just decided to pick up DoC on a whim. Who knows? It's possible that there are many players who don't quite clearly remember the names of places and which events occurred where, etc. That said, I agree with you; annoying dialogue such as that might be slightly insulting to those of us who might have been hugely obsessed fans of FFVII at one point.

However, based on your "pretty cool" score on the Alexander-o-meter, I take it that you also find more good than bad in the game. You heard the man, everyone! That's another for the "Good" pile.



Children always get lost in the shuffle! And in the candy aisle...


Matt,

Ok, we've all talked about FFXII and FFIII until we are blue in the face, but I'm worried about one specific title, Children of Mana. There has been very little talk about this game other than to group it together with the other titles being crammed down our throats this winter. Is it going to be overlooked? Is the fact that it will be coming out so close to the FF trio going to hurt it? Will it be pushed back or even pushed up to help alleviate this? The E3 impressions seemed to be positive, but will anyone care? I'm guilty of just lumping this together with other titles, but if the game is good, I will be getting it. What are your thoughts and where does this rank on your list of must haves?

- Macstorm


Matt

Hey Mac! This is just one part of Square Enix's peculiar strategy of lumping so many games together at one time. I personally think that it could easily get overlooked as well, in favour of other offerings from the same company! After all, think: They're releasing Dragon Quest: Heroes, Final Fantasy III, and Final Fantasy V as well over the next month and a half. Yeah, FFV is a Game Boy Advance game, but it's all the same to DS owners.

Children of Mana is one of the bunch, and I'm definitely looking forward to it. I admit that I'm not as excited about it as I am about many other upcoming titles, but I was happy with what I played at E3 myself, and I really do want to get it. Plus, "not as excited" is totally relative, because I'm really, really excited about many of the other games that are on the way. In terms of rank? I'd say that I want FFXII, FFIII, FFV, Contact, Xenosaga III, and Disgaea II MORE. I think that I'm going to end up sticking Children of Mana into a hat along with Dragon Quest Heroes, Valkyrie Profile 2, and Rogue Galaxy to see which I'll end up getting. Maybe I'll ask for the others for Christmas, or buy them once I've worked my way out of my undeniably impending debt. SIGH!



It's a conditional thing.


Hey there, Ma... er, BigWook

Congratulations, by the way, at becoming a full guest-host for a day.

If you were in charge of the battle system of Final Fantasy XIII, which status effect would you create and add to the game? Negative or positive, it doesn't matter. And of those status effects they no longer use in the series, which would you bring back?

-CW


Matt

Ah, this was the other one. Sorry, CW! I was already constructing BigWook's column by the time you sent me that one. No worries, though, for *I* shall step up to the plate, the noble person, or whatever, I am.

Without question, I'd love for Square Enix to bring "Old" back into play sometime soon. With the crisp, beautiful graphics of the PS3, some really, really neato things could be done with the character graphics to portray a status condition where allies or enemies age quickly during battles. Don't you agree??

As for a totally new condition? A good question, to be sure. Back in the games I used to make, I had special spells called "Water Wall", "Thunder Wall", and "Flame Wall". When cast, they surrounded the target with a wall of the corresponding element that would either cause damage, cause damage + paralyze with 25% probability, or cause damage + burn with 25% probability, respectively. The Flame Wall could be put out with a water attack, but the others stayed on indefinitely, and they only caused damage when physically attacked by others. It would be neat to see something like that in a future game, anyway! What do you think?

Thanks, CW!!



And another from Genjuu, to wrap things up!


Hello,

Hmmm, concerning underdog RPGs, there aren't any I'm really interested in that are being released in PAL, so I'm just aiming to pick up the major ones like the FFXII, FFIII and FFV. I just bought Disgaea off Ebay, which should be arriving pretty soon, and from what I've heard of the game, I'll probably end up getting Disgaea 2. And don't forget KH2. Oh, and a Wii. With Twilight Princess. Oh god, I'm gonna be broke by Christmas. Hopefully I'll get cash prezzies, then

Matt

Wahhhh...

Why is it that my family is the only one that doesn't "do" cash presents?

"It's too impersonal," Mom said as I rolled my eyes and the dough for an annual tradition. Yes, we were making sugar cookies in the kitchen as we conversed about Christmas. How I loved those delectable little treats, but something I loved even more was the tradition to follow, where the family would join together in decorating the confections with brightly coloured candy sprinkles and other edible holiday decorations. The twisted male minds of the family would always find ways to make cookies delightfully obscene, despite the fact that Mom and my sisters highly disapproved.

"And don't forget to turn off the oven after this batch!" Mom yelled as she left the room to turn on a new Christmas CD. Yes, it was definitely the holid-

Oops, I forgot for a sec that this isn't my personal life story. But yeah, money is so much better, especially when extended family will only ever get you $20 or $30 items that you're probably not going to ever use anyway. Oh well.

Genjuu found a magic glowing pen down the sofa. Worship the Godly Glowing Pen!!!! It's reportedly the new avatar of Bahamut.

Matt

Excellent. Perhaps if there were a Glowing Pen item in the competition, it would summon Bahamut when sacrificed. You never know; there are a lot of secrets things about the competition that have yet to be discovered...





THE NEXUS

Dee dee dee. So, yes, I did indeed beat Radiata Stories over the weekend, if you can believe that! While there were many good things about the game, I think that the people at tri-Ace made the game fall on its face near the end, as tri-Ace tends to do with most of their games. The final dungeon was just insultingly uncreative, and unacceptably frustrating for no apparent reason other than for the sake of being frustrating. The ending was almost non-existent. Altogether, though, it was a fine game. And there's my ultra, ultra-mini review, just for you! Yes, you.

Now I can move on to new games with a little less guilt. I'm so excited!

Oh, and I also finished Lunar's ending tonight! It was a highly typical ending, except for the absolutely wonderful outtakes at the very end, which made me laugh heartily. If there's anything that Lunar had, it was teamwork, a positive attitude, and a great sense of humour. Nice job, Working Designs!

Caption


For complete contest rules, click here!


Answers to August 29th's Questions

#294. b) Friends at School - 540 points
This was BigWook's question, and wow, it was definitely an obscure one! The connection was a difficult one to make, but this is a reference to the Seal song "Crazy". Only a very few got this one right, but a couple of you sharply figured out what the question was about exactly. Great job!

#295. a) Final Fantasy VIII - 510 points/1,020 for CW
I didn't think that I was going to use this question when I first found it in my inbox, because I thought it was far too obscure. I was also unfamiliar with the song "Born Free", so I went out of my way to download it and see for myself, and what I heard made me grin from ear to ear. The song definitely sounds like a happy version of FFVIII's overworld, especially for the first two notes, so this was definitely gettable, and indeed, many of you got it! Good job, and thanks, CW, for the interesting submission.



Today's New Questions

#296:
Xenobia's voice actress for Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete repeatedly had difficulty saying which of the following words in the right way? (575 points)

a) Magic
b) Our
c) Vile
d) There
e) Everyone


Reader-Submitted #297:
What was the first Dragon Quest game to introduce a game of chance? (450 points)

a) Dragon Quest 1
b) Dragon Quest 2
c) Dragon Quest 3
d) Dragon Quest 4
e) Dragon Quest 5


Hopefully these are a little more handleable, though I admit that #296 will probably be quite challenging for a lot of you. Hee hee hee, we'll see by tomorrow, won't we?



SOCK's Item List

Obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!

2,000 points: Fire Spell (2 left), Quick Spell (1 left), or Water Spell (1 left)
3,500 points: Aux. Point Generator (1 left), Mythril Armor (2 left), or Point Doubler (1 left)
5,000 points: Slowra Spell (2 left), Dark Sword (2 left), or Blizzara Spell (2 left)
7,000 points: Paint Can (1 left), Hastera Spell (2 left), or Thundaga Spell (2 left)
10,000 points: Merton Spell (1 left), Hyper Beam (2 left), or Confura Spell (2 left)
14,000 points: Red Gem (2 left), Call Bead (2 left), or Killer Sword (1 left)
19,000 points: Esuna Spell (3 left), Point Tripler (2 left), or Drainra Spell (2 left)
25,000 points: Summon Encyclopedia (2 left), Holy Spell (1 left), or Nightmare Staff (2 left)
32,000 points: Point Quadrupler (2 left), Diamond Armor (2 left), or Hastega Spell (2 left)

STRAGGLERS:
(people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list after a week, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them, and I'll check mine, too!)

  • none to speak of!


SOCK's Prize Shop

Obtain enough points, and you may buy merchandise or guest-hosting positions.

Click here for the current list of potential prizes!


IN CLOSING

Well, that about does it for today! A lot of you seem to be playing through Dirge of Cerberus and liking it. If you're one of them, I'd love to hear from you! Do any of you disagree? I'd love to hear from you, too. Is it worth the money right now, given the other RPGs coming out left and right?

To change the subject a little, too, what do you think about Children of Mana? Did the mediocrity of Sword of Mana kill your desire for Mana on-the-go? Or is it a game that you feel like lapping up?

Of course, if you have any other interesting subjects to dive into, feel free! Whatever is on your mind shall be perfectly suitable, as long as you stay at least somewhere close to "on-topic".

So, join us tomorrow! More questions will be asked, for answers will be supplied, and the cycle will continue as always...


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt has been sitting way too much in recent times.


Send a Question

I also feel irritation at my sandwich from earlier. It was a wonderful sandwich, to be sure- Schneider's 1890 Pan Roasted Chicken, with cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce, mayonnaise and mustard, on whole wheat bread. The problem is that the onions must have been strong, because I've tasted them ever since! GRAAHH!! No one come near me, because I probably have dragon breath.

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Matt's Top 5 Most Wanted Games:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Xenosaga: Episode III

3. Final Fantasy XII

4. Disgaea II

5. Final Fantasy V

Top 5 Games Matt's Playing Right Now:

1. Fire Emblem GBA

2. Radiata Stories

3. Lunar: SSSC



SOCK's Top 35:

CACNEA
-HP: 2,000-
----------
1. Aurelius
28,124 pts

2. Kanato
26,310 pts

3. Alan Tse
24,670 pts

4. DMJewelle
24,536 pts

5. JokingChimer
23,808 pts

6. Erika
23,371 pts

7. LufiaLvr
17,230 pts

8. Leaper
17,223 pts

9. Belthasar2
16,268 pts

10. Cap
15,151 pts

11. CW
14,846 pts

12. Arros Raikou
13,829 pts

13. Dermot
12,196 pts

14. Alexander
11,950 pts

15. Tabor
11,812 pts

16. TV's Adam
11,651 pts

17. BigWook
11,400 pts

18. DDX
11,309 pts

19. Draconn
10,019 pts

20. Purelunatic
9,735 pts

21. JuMeSyn
9,724 pts

22. Colabottle
9,175 pts

23. BLG
8,338 pts

24. Boojum
8,049 pts

25. Macstorm
7,985 pts

26. Xlash
7,775 pts

27. Megan
7,344 pts

28. Bainick
6,695 pts

29. Hunter B
6,681 pts

30. Ourobolus
6,679 pts

31. Erunion
5,967 pts

31. FinalDelerium
5,557 pts

33. Gilgamesh
5,525 pts

34. Flamethrower
4,863 pts

35. Vigilante
4,825 pts

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