Wet Dust Can't Fly!
September 19, 2006
Matt Demers Erika Wolfraven - 19:25 EST
ANOTHER WEEK AND A brand new column! What does todayís Q&A have in store for us? Well I have no idea since Iím only doing an intro cameo and thus havenít read any of the letters. So instead I think Iíll hijack the spotlight for a moment ask the burning question thatís been on my mind for a while... Is anyone other than me excited about Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria?
I know itís not Final Fantasy XII (which I am excited about too!), but still... I was the only person at my local game store to reserve a copy. Granted itís a small game store but there were a couple of dozen names down for FFXII (mine among them, of course). I have high hopes for the game. The original Valkyrie Profile was quite beautiful and had an amazing soundtrack. Iíve got my fingers crossed that the prequel lives up to the original game, though Iím also hoping that the plot takes a more central role. Just a couple more weeks and Iíll find out! Iím so excited!
All right Iíve said my piece. Back to you Matt!
XII, WII, and XSIII. I only have "I"s for you...
It seems like the big topics right now are XS III and FFXII, so I might as well start there. After playing Xenosaga II, and losing interest in it at the last REAL boss in the game and never finishing it, I really didn't have any desire to get XS III. However, this summer was just awful for games and I hadn't really sat through a long rpg in a while, so I caved and bought it. I was pretty much hooked the second I put it in my ps2, to the point that I played 6 hours the first day and managed to put in 50 hours in a week and finish it. I think they managed to do the best job they could with managing story and game play, sure there is lots of long cut scenes(especially towards the end), but the dungeons are really quite long too, and there are some really epic E.S. battles. Overall, I was very satisfied with the conclusion, even though the religious themes were taken to the extreme point of blasphemy, I still felt it added to the overall plot instead of detracted (you'll see when it all comes together when you eventually get to it).
It's not exactly a secret that the entire series is oozing with religious symbolism. I don't really mind, because it gives the game a unique blend of herbs and spices not found in just about any other game.
I always liked E.S. battles, and I think that the E.S. battles of Episode II were far, far more fun than having the largely useless ability to "call A.G.W.S." in the first episode. It's nice to see that they've (the E.S. battles) returned with gusto in numťro trois.
Moving on to FFXII, when I first read about it and played the demo for the first time I was very against the game, then I sat down one day and played the demo again and found that it is actually quite a great system, in my opinion. I mean yeah it wrestles some control away from you, but then again you've heard the argument against previous FF games that they could be beaten by just mashing the X button over and over. I've always said that mashing X and picking "attack" all the time was very inefficient, same is true for FFXII. In the FFXII demo you COULD just let them attack and let the gambits do their job(allies healing you when you are weak, and so on) or you can manage all the characters at once and use spells and kill things much more efficiently(such as leading off with a triple blizzard on a bomb >_>), once I started to do that I had a blast with the demo. Also, it's a demo for an FF game, they are notorious for not being accurate compared to the final game, you are generally much more powerful than you are at the point in actual game the demo portrays, and you usually have spells and summons that you won't have either(Flare and Holy?), now I could be completely wrong since I haven't played the Japanese version but oh well. Also, just like you I've heard from everyone that's played the Japanese version that they love it to death, so hopefully once people can wrap their minds around the battle system they will actually see what else the game has to offer. As for the whole "action RPG" debate, I'd say it leans heavily towards an MMO style(without being as restrictive) than it does an action RPG, but there are some similarities to an action RPG. My opinion is that it's a battle engine we haven't really seen before so I think people should just stop trying to throw it in with all the different types, and either love it or hate it for it's own merits instead of what it MIGHT resemble but probably isn't.
That's what I keep telling myself. I never got my hands on any demos for any previous Final Fantasy games, so I'm new to this land of year-prior previews.
Despite everything I've said in the past, too, I DO recognize the potential that the gambit system possesses. Essentially, it sounds like you just do the AI programming yourself; something that could get very involving, I'm sure. I'll admit that at first, a huge part of me was disappointed when a more traditional turn-based battle system wasn't included, but at the same time, I realize that new battle systems can be very well-done, especially where Square Enix is concerned! I've moved on, and I'm happily looking forward to the game by now. Less than six weeks to go, now? I think so. While everyone else is trick-or-treating, I hope to be running through Ivalice, gambitting my evening away.
Finally, someone asked how a multiple console owner manages it, listing examples of being under age or having a good job. Well, I am neither under age(22) and don't have a job at the moment, so the only way I can manage owning every currently released console and handheld is by carefully planning what I want to buy. I generally follow release dates of games I am interested in and try to get enough cash during the summer for the onslaught of holiday releases. I can tell you that November of 2006 is going to destroy my funds, I have about 1k saved up right now, that was going to go towards a new TV, but alas, November...Let's see, 3 FF games in 2 weeks, Gears of War, Wii + Zelda + SD card(I hated that idea on the psp and I hate Nintendo for using the SD cards now), Dead or Alive Xtreme 2(I am a perv what can I say), then there are the ones that I am considering getting like .hack//GU and the new Sonic The Hedgehog for the 360. So, needless to say, I will be probably $600 lighter at the very least. Occasionally, I make impulse buys(who honestly passes up Disgaea 1 for 40 bucks? not me!) and the like but generally you need to plan and realize what you REALLY want or you will end up hitting the holidays and screwing yourself. Most people probably aren't comfortable with spending the amount I will in November all in one month so I would say that you should figure out which is the most important to you and buy that and also try to pick up the one that you think will be the hardest to find in a few months.
It's true. It doesn't take too much to get on top of things for me either, and I'm only 23 years old. It's not as if I pull in a huge amount of money every year by any means. I decided that I would tutor this fall in order to make some extra money that I can spend on electronics, and it doesn't take more than a few hours per week in order to make enough to buy a new game every now and then. Budgeting is important to me, too; I only really eat out once or twice per week at maximum, and I don't really drink much at all. Money is tight for most of us at this age, but managing multiple systems is usually both possible and easy if you're careful enough.
Finally, just some advice on people buying a Wii because it's "cheaper". Just remember that it's not the console itself that is expensive it's the amount of games and peripherals that you buy that really adds up in the long run. If you've ever followed Nintendo's history you know they LOVE to release peripherals that only work with 1 or 2 really gimmicky games and then become useless, the Wii is perfectly designed for them to abuse this, and they definitely will do so, so please remember to be smart about it and try and stay away from the Wii equivalents of the power glove and Okama ok?
You have a point; how many games worked with the SNES Mouse? The Zapper? R.O.B.?
In this case, though, there are already dozens of games in development that will use the motion sensing feature. It's not just a "gimmick"; it's the main controller, and it's an important part of Nintendo's strategy to use it effectively. Thus, I'm very confident that Wii is setting up to be a really big thing, cheap or not. I'm personally really, really anxious to get my hands on my very own!
Thanks for the mail!
Final Fantasy XI, plus another I
This isn't a question per se, but I just had to weigh in on this whole "Is
the FFXII battle system Action RPG'ish?" question. The battle system is new
in the sense that it diverges from every other single player Final Fantasy
game that has ever been released. I say single player simply because for
any player of MMORPG's, this battle system seems to be very familiar. I
played the demo that came with DragonQuest VIII, and disregarding the other
members in your party, the battle system is very FFXI'ish. That is, you
walk around the world area, enemies can clearly be seen, and encounters do
not flash to another battle screen. Your character simply "engages" and
draws his/her weapon. Attacks are automatic once you are engaged, your
character swings at intervals determined by your speed (haste) stats. You
are free to move in 360 degrees to change the tactic of the battle (one
example is to keep yourself away from other party members to avoid area of
effect attacks) and basically make choices by selecting abilities or magic
from a menu.
The only difference from a MMORPG battle system is that the AI controls the
other party members as opposed to other players controlling them, and I'm
not quite sure if other enemies can join in on a pre-existing battle (which
can happen in an MMORPG if you get too close to another monster). So, I
would qualify the FFXII battle system not as an Action RPG (I'm reminded of
Zelda and Illusion of Gaia here) battle system, but as a MMORPG battle
system. Seems like they just ripped it straight from FFXI and called it
Gambit, I don't know.
I'm pretty sure that if other monsters draw near, they'll join in any skirmish that happens to be underway. I once mentioned a long time ago that my first impression of the game felt like what I would have thought FFXI would feel like; I can't actually compare the two since I haven't even seen FFXI in action, shamefully. When I made that comparison, though, a couple of people metaphorically jumped on my head to start metaphorically beating on me giving me metaphorical cuts and bruises. What say you all? IS Final Fantasy XII more like a "non-line" RPG? Is it Final Fantasy XI dressed up in new clothing after all? And for those of you that have played an FFXII demo, how similar do they feel?
Hey there Sir Matt or MagRowan,
It's been awhile since I've written anything in. This new information about
the Wii has me eager though.
Ah, sorry. You just missed her! Usually, if you have a question for a cohost, it's best to send it out a couple of days in advance. Oh well, maybe next time. I'll just have to answer your question instead.
Since the Playstation came out Iíve been a Sony guy, but now Iím not sure
anymore. The combination of the PS3 being way to expensive and the growing
anticipation for the Wii has me questioning my loyalty to Sony. Recently I
bought a DSLite and it was so damn nice that Iíve become interested in
Nintendo. Iíve never had a Nintendo system before and this one is so nice. I
thought the stylus was going to be a stupid gimmick, but it wasnít. I was
making fun of friends for playing games with a stick, but once I got my
hands on it....Iím in love. So now Iím not even concerned with the crazy
remote thing that the Wii has. If they can pull off the stylus and touch
screen, they can do anything.
It's so true. I was worried at first, too. When I bought my DS at first in the summer of 2005, there weren't even that many good games out for it. I remember poking the screen hesitantly and carefully with my stylus, highly skeptical of how well it would work, but before long, it became apparent that the DS was crafted with quality and that the touch screen was more than just fluff. The controls for games like Metroid Prime Hunters are so wonderfully well done using the touch screen, it's almost impossible to describe it to another skeptic unless they were to try it for themselves.
Concerning FFXII, I havenít played the demo simply because I donít want any
of my hopes to be crushed. Many games that Iíve played Iíve hated the battle
system in the beginning, but end up getting used to it by the end. Even in
FFX I was annoyed by many of the battle aspects, but ended up enjoying it in
the end. Weíll only be able to tell once we get our hands on it in a few
weeks. Ah, I canít wait!
I had my reservations for Final Fantasy X as well, but I also had reservations for IX when I started it, and many other games, too. You have to ease yourself into them, like a nice hot tub. A demo doesn't do a game justice.
One question thatís been bugging me for awhile now is what the differences
between Dragon Quest and Dragon Warrior are. Are they connected stories or
are they like Final Fantasy and completely independent (mostly independent)?
Which is the best as in intro to the series? Iím gonna guess VIII.
Well thatís my two cents for the day.
Ah, the Dragon Quest story. Well, there's virtually no difference between "Dragon Warrior" and "Dragon Quest." "Dragon Quest" has always been the name of the series in Japan, but because of copyright laws, the name had to be changed in North America for a time to "Dragon Warrior" instead.
The first three Dragon Warriors produced a nice inter-related trilogy. The second set of three also shared several elements in common, and shared a similar theme involving a castle in the sky that watches over the world; thus, they're said to be a trilogy, sometimes called "the heaven trilogy."
Dragon Warrior VII and Dragon Quest VIII don't appear to share anything in common, so perhaps IX will tie that up handily. Perhaps it won't, and the day of the trilogies will have passed. I don't know! I can't wait until IX is announced, though, one day...
The Dark Chevalier loves his DSLite.
I don't know many DS owners who don't love their little systems! I personally think that the DS is one of the best systems I've ever owned, and hey, I've owned a fair number of systems.
I just hate that meaningless drivel...
I hear a lot of complaints about all the mindless, meaningless drivel that Kingdom Hearts II has players do in order to reveal a secret movie at the end. You have to finish EVERY SINGLE TASK in the game in addition to getting sometimes absurdly high scores in un-fun minigames. I thank my lucky stars every day that I played on Expert difficulty my first time through, which ignores all the silly requirements and gives you the movie for free. So, I suggest to any readers having difficulties or are simply annoyed by the asininity that it may be both faster and easier to restart one difficulty level higher. After all, you're planning to play the game again at some point in the future, right? Why torture yourself skateboarding or fighting in the Paradox cups with have no tangible reward?
Alexander M. DeMichiei
Thanks for the tips; I'm sure they'll be much appreciated by some readers out there. It seems kind of paradoxical in the end that choosing a HIGHER level of difficulty could lead one to obtain something more easily, but then again, I never really understood Kingdom Hearts. Oh well.
I'm excited about the Wii. Seems it finally close to being releases
in the States, and at least 3 months away in Europe =(. Btw, I like those
stupid faces you can make with brackets and equal signs ^_^. I'm also glad
that Nintendo isn't following the Way of the Sony (tm) and skimping on
accessories, cutting down on production and delaying the Europe release date
by miles, AND avoiding all of this and still making a profit on each console
I'm excited too! And isn't it great? There will only be a few weeks between the North American, Japanese, and European releases. A small part of me worried that Nintendo would follow suit after Sony gave us that disappointing announcement, but my feelings were reassured with their newest announcement.
On the Ellen DeGeneres show, incidentally, a really amazing blind kid who loves video games and can sense things using echolocation was given a Wii, Zelda, and DS Lite. No joke! If you don't believe me, check it out on YouTube here. Thus, at least ONE lucky person on this continent is already playing, and it won't be long before people across the world will be as well. I only hope that the games are as fantastic as some of the E3 demos were!
Anyhow, thanks for writing in, Genjuu!
I tried to do an odd version of chin-ups in public for the first time yesterday, because there is a machine in the fitness room that has these sort of side bars that are high up. You grab them, and lift yourself up, and repeat until you're too exhausted to do anymore. Six! And a half, I guess. Six in a row is all I could muster, but I'm making it my goal this fall to be able to increase that number to ten or more.
"Matt's Strength increased by 2!"
For complete contest rules, click here!
Answers to September 15th's Questions
#316. d) 350, 800 - 650 points
Out of thirty-some responses, I think that two people got this correct. TWO! It's a bit of an obscure sequence though, and as with many of my past sequences, has nothing at all to do with math. It might become clearer as to what the sequence was if I told you that the next five terms in the sequence are "Lose a Turn", 300, 400, 600, and "Bankrupt". Is it clearer now? Yes, these are values of spaces in the American version of Wheel of Fortune, starting from the big-money space in round one and going counter-clockwise! For you non-North American competitors, I don't want to hear it, because I've had questions about obscure Australian geography on more than one occasion.
#317. b) Totoro - 550 points
This was Maggie's question, even though I mistakenly put that it was "Erika's" for the first part of the weekend, probably because I had them scrambled in my mind; Erika is doing a co-host THIS week, after all! Anyway, the answer may be discovered here: http://www.squidworks.com/Peters/40winks1/preview.pdf.
Consider the following piece of MIDI music: Voila!. What game does this music come from? (625 points)
a) Illusion of Gaia
b) The 7th Saga
c) Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
d) Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
e) None of the above
In Harvest Moon DS, how many recipes can you make using curry powder as a primary ingredient?
Maybe you guys will do better with today's selection. I wish you the best of luck!
Obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!
2,000 points: Fire Spell (1 left)
3,500 points: Regera Spell (2 left), Mythril Armor (2 left), or Gold Gem (2 left)
5,000 points: Dark Gem (2 left), Point Doubler (2 left), or Firaga Spell (2 left)
7,000 points: Slowga Spell (2 left), Venom Spell (1 left), or Ultra Sneak Glove (1 left)
10,000 points: Vanish Spell (2 left), Drainra Spell (1 left), or Scan Spell (3 left)
14,000 points: Red Gem (1 left), White Gem (2 left), or Gold Armor (1 left)
19,000 points: Esuna Spell (1 left), Magic Pearl(1 left), or Thundaga Spell (2 left)
25,000 points: Waterga Spell (2 left), Dark Sword(1 left), or Killer Sword (1 left)
32,000 points: Mythril Shield (1 left), Mythril Sword (2 left), or Hastega Spell (2 left)
40,000 points: Flare Spell (1 left), Sean's Dictionary of Doom (1 left), or Blizzaja Spell (2 left)
50,000 points: Regega Spell (2 left), Rebirth Stone (2 left), or Hyper Sneak Glove (1 left)
(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!)
Obtain enough points, and you may buy items, merchandise, or guest-hosting positions.
Click here for the current list of potential prizes!
'Tis all for the day. But as you heard, we've got an exciting week ahead of us, as we march forward into the exciting fall of video game heaven. If you'd like to write Erika a letter, she will be joining us on Thursday to co-host the column, so by all means, give her something to chew on!
We've come so far now since E3 and the blast of news we received in May. What are YOU most excited for this fall? What system tickles your fancy? Do NONE of the systems appeal to you? Or do we have big things in store? I want to hear from those of you who will be queued up on release morning to grab a new PS3 or Wii, and I want to hear from those who will be there pointing and laughing at those people in line!
For now, though, I'll say bye-bye. Bye-bye!
***Matt has known the expression "bye-bye" for nearly twenty-three years!
My whole self feels kind of sore today. Ugh. I'm not into pain-killers either, because I hate the idea of not being able to feel something that's wrong with you. Yeah, I'm weird.
Sept.15: MagRowan & Matt
About the Host
Matt's Top 5 Most Wanted Games:
1. Final Fantasy III
2. Xenosaga: Episode III
3. Final Fantasy XII
4. Final Fantasy V
5. Children of Mana
Top 3 Games Matt's Playing Right Now:
1. Disgaea II
2. Fire Emblem GBA
3. Grandia III
SOCK's Top 35:
5. Alan Tse
14. Arros Raikou
19. TV's Adam
22. Hunter B