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ASK MATT
Error in Drive Me
September 14, 2007

Matthew Demers - 20:59 EST

YOU KNOW WHAT? One reason I love RPGamer is because it's one place you can go and not have to see HALO 3 HALO 3 HALO 3 all over the damn place. That game is truly driving me crazy, and it isn't even out yet. Does anyone agree with me? Argh!

I need to respond. Beware: Vent mode may initiate at any time!




LETTERS
When it's out of your hands, then- THEN you can complain!


A good night's sleep always helps with that sort of thing.

I've given up on the last two treasure chests of Wild Arms 5. After scouring the world map, checking off open chests as I went, I find that my missing chests are in dungeons - dungeon's I've already searched at least twice. I'm either gonna come back later and do it, or else do a New Game +. I'm going to go ahead and finish, though. I'm just so tired of mindless searching!

What's the most an RPG has ever frustrated you? As bad as WA5 has been in that regard, it's still a good game, and at least my failure isn't due to a bug which makes the task impossible, like WA4!

Matt

Well, you did the best you could, Leaper. I'm glad the game was a decent one in the end despite your inability to achieve the big goal. You know, though, that this will haunt you for the next few weeks. You'll be drifting off to sleep, and you'll have a dream about where the treasure chests could be, and you'll wake up thinking "Oh my god, I haven't looked there yet!" And then you'll have to fight the urge to just be content and done and not go back. And then you'll fail, play the game again anyway, and find that they weren't in that spot after all.

Heh heh. The last time I got really, really frustrated with a single game was with with another Wild Arms game, in fact; yes, it was Alter Code F. Oh, that game. I refused to look at FAQs, because they're irritating. (Come to think of it, someone else wrote me a letter on FAQs a little while back, and I never got to respond to it- I should dig it up. *wink*) The problem is that the scripting is terrible, and I found that I was often entirely at a loss of what to do next. You know the times: When the game makes it FEEL like you should know what to do next, even though you don't have a blasted clue? Yeah, ACF was full of those moments. When it was paired with the ultra-glitchiness of the game, incredibly terrible english, and the most boring battle system ever, and I was prepared to quit at many points. In fact, I think my brother asked me a few times why I kept going. Sometimes, I just didn't have much to respond with.



The daily grind begins.


Hey Matt,

Unfortunately, fall means the start of school and less time for gaming. Even more unfortunately, it seems more games usually come out this time of year. But, I always make sure to set aside an hour or two every night before going to bed to get some gaming in.

- Tasukete

Matt

Yeah, like HALO 3.

It's true that we're getting into the big-release time of year, and it sucks that it corresponds to the start of a new school year. I, like you, TRY to set aside time every night to play. By the time I'm finished doing RPGamer work, though, I feel like I owe it to my academic career to do something actually productive before I head to bed. The problem with this is that my gaming-time gets pared down to a minimum, which is, of course, a tragedy.

Thanks for sharing, Tasukete!



What I want for Christmas? Forget Christmas, the TGS is here!


Matt,

Here's my wishlist of announcements that I'd love to see come out of TGS.

-New Fire Emblem in development for DS.

-Sequel to Etrian Odyssey in development.

-Metroid Dread not canceled after all.

-Monolith working on some exciting epic RPG for Wii.

-Ogre Battle and Ogre Battle 64 to be released on Virtual Console to build anticipation for an all-new next-gen Ogre Battle.

--Boojum

Matt

Boojum, that is a fantastic wishlist. And it's not just fantastic because it's the stuff of fantasies: Some of those things are absolutely not out of the question!

A Fire Emblem would suit the DS so perfectly, I'm frankly floored that one hasn't been announced already. The creators of Etrian Odyssey apparently opened the door for a sequel a little while back, and since Monolith has been awfully quiet lately, I'd suspect that if they aren't defunct, they must be working on some pet project for Nintendo. Ogre Battle? That's a bit more far out. But, any of those announcements would make this guy a happy man!



First-time writer, long-time reader.


Hi Matt. I'm a long-time reader, first-time writer. Real quick, just wanted to say that I love the column and am really bummed that you're leaving. The column is one of my favorite things to check out on the site and I've enjoyed yours more than anyone else's.

Matt

Well, thanks a bunch! Your words are too kind- I just do what I can around here.

You know what? I'd love NOTHING more than to stay here, keep doing what I'm doing, run fun contests, and go on forever like this. Unfortunately though, the sun must set. Besides, I need to make more time for Herb to enslave me with the despair of a Ph.D. program. Things might be different if a million bucks just magically landed in my lap, but I doubt highly that that's about to happen.

I'll try to answer a few of the hot topics I've seen recently. I've never been in a situation where I've lost power. However, I had a save on Twilight Princess roughly 20 hours or so into the game and I was towards the end. I was helping my boy out with an early part of the game on his save. Not paying as much attention as I should have been, I pointed the wiimote at my slot and saved over my game. Since then I've not been able to pick it back up and get disgusted when I think about it.

Matt

Oh my gosh, that's terrible! I've done the same thing before with non-Wii-Remote-involving saves, too, though. You probably know the story: You have your master-quest on Final Fantasy VII with 80 hours logged and super-powered characters, but a friend is playing the game for the first time. You're so incredibly used to saving in a certain slot that you come *this* close to saving their game in that very slot automatically, even though it's a different game. Near-tragedy. Sometimes, unfortunately, "near" can be eliminated.

I know this is going far back, but I've never been big into MMORPG's. I don't understand how people can pay for a game, then 15 bucks a month for a game that could at any time. I have a really hard time seeing the value in it.

Matt

Thanks, I totally know what you mean. It seems like such a horrible money-grab to me, too: It can't possibly cost a company an extra $15 or $20 per month per player to run the game. The profits that Blizzard must be reaping off of a certain nameless game are likely absolutely mind-boggling.

I don't remember the exact rpg that got me into them. When I got my NES, I got Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Dragon Warrior. Lots of fond memories of those games. I also loved Wizardry for NES. One of my buddies had a PC and a Master System and I remember playing the Phantasy Star Games along with Quest for Glory (those games rocked).

Matt

Yes, you're one of the old fogeys like me! I needed some company, but you go one further: You were a Nintendo and Sega guy back in the day. It's funny, because it seems that back then, owning every system was way, way less commonplace than it is today. All of my video-gaming friends had either Nintendo systems OR Sega systems and definitely not both. Of course, all of my friends were eight years old and dependent on parents for their purchases, too. Heh heh.

There's tons of games I'm looking forward to this fall. I'm fortunately able to be a multi-console owner and have all of the systems out now. So I'm looking forward to Folklore (haven't tried the demo yet), Uncharted, Assassin's Creed, The Orange Box, Disgaea PSP, FFT PSP, Halo 3 (my boy is dying for this one), Eternal Sonata, and Castlevania PSP.

Matt

Ohohohoho, the RPGs on the list you mentioned saved you from a Halo 3 crack. Man, man, man, I can't wait for that game to be behind us (so that the Halo 4 rumour pot can start boiling, of course... *sigh*).

I'll put my two cents in on Blue Dragon. I'm really enjoying the game so far. I'm at the third disc towards the very end. I think the game does start out slow, but after a few hours things pick up and the story starts to improve. The main character can be annoying and I have learned that no matter what he'll never give up. I like the music pretty well so far. I definately think the reviews have been to hard on the game. But to each his own and I respect those opinions. Two Worlds isn't bad. I heard a good quote for it. "It's the best worst game I've ever played." The graphics are sub-par, voice acting is pretty lame, lots of technical glitches, yet it's surprisingly addictive.

Matt

Well, again... someone brought this up yesterday, and I think that it's a good point. A lot of other sites often look down upon traditional RPGs, or give them a hard time for certain things (turn-based battles, for example) that hardcore RPGamers can actually really enjoy. Bear this in mind as you read other reviews, and make the judgments based on your own experience.

I haven't heard much about Two Worlds. But your description sounds a lot like my feelings towards Etrian Odyssey, that game that I both hate and love simultaneously.

Sorry for the lenth of this letter, just decided to finally write in. I had to give some props to the 360 at the end. I sense a lot of hate for the system at times and I know Sean has an intense dislike for it. Many times I think it's undeserving and Nintendo and Sony have as many flaws as Microsoft. I play games because I'm a gamer and not a supporter of any one system. Take care Matt.

Jeremy

Matt

I agree: Games should be the primary focus here, and it's no secret that the 360 has been friendlier to the RPGamer as of late than either of its two cohorts. I think it's easy for people to pick apart one of the systems for its faults while remaining ignorant of the faults of the others, and as you say, none of them are perfect. That said, I don't think the 360 has received quite as much heat as the PS3 as of late, but I think that there are very good reasons why gamers- and especially RPGamers- should be wary of the big bad expensive system at this time. In fact, I just gave my feelings on the Wii yesterday, but I think that Nintendo could be doing a lot of things better itself. Anyway, I exist only to call things as I see 'em!

I appreciate the chance to meet you, Jeremy! Write again sometime.



Stories... and decisions.


Matt (or whichever Q&A host),

This may be a bit of an old topic, but here's how my journey into the realm of the RPG began:

It all started way back in the third grade. My parents wanted to reward me for getting all A's that school year. I demanded a GameBoy Color. I got it, and with it, a game called "magi nation" (do you remember that game, by the way?). I was only in the third grade, so the "complicated battle system and many other game play elements confused my poor little brain.

Matt

Oh, I remember Magi Nation, but I don't know a blasted thing about it. I saw it in a Sears Wish Book one year, I think, and put it out of my mind until this very moment, when you have conjured up the past.

Then, I stepped into the realm of Dragon Warrior. I got the Dragon Warrior I and II remake for the GameBoy. I thought that it was simply amazing, but it was still too complicated to beat for me...Anyways, then my cousin, who also enjoyed the Dragon Warrior game, gave me his copy of Dragon Warrior III for the GameBoy. Again, I loved the game.

Matt

Those remakes were golden. I can actually say with some confidence that Dragon Warrior III GBC is the best RPG to come out for the system. The adaptations and changes were awesome, the amount of bonus material was astounding, and the tweaks to the graphics were absolutely surprising for a GBC title. Those battle animations were freakishly smooth for the little portable.

A GBA was my next great investment. I bought Golden Sun with the system, and loved it over all the other (3) games i had ever played. I also bought myself BReath of Fire 1 and Breath of Fire 2 for the GBA, and loved those as well.

Matt

Yeah, Golden Sun was great. While it wasn't perfect in my eyes, it did a few things wonderfully. It managed to establish a new and instantly-popular series and did so in a very broad way; between the nifty story, the cliffhangerish ending of the first game, likable characters, fantastic presentation, and really creative dungeon design, there wasn't much not to like. Why they never made a third, especially when a third was almost suggested by the storyline, is completely beyond me.

The next Christmas, my parents got my my one and only console... a shiny new PS2!!!!!

I loved the thing. I spent all of my weekends playing Jak and Daxter, witch came with the console.

Matt

You, and a hundred million others. I loved my PS2 as well. Once it crapped out on me, I loved my second, too. I still do.

One day, back in the (about) fourth grade, I was watching ther Disney channel. Little did I know, this day would change my life forever... A mini clip of something called "Disney's Secret Lab" came on screen. It was supposed to show what all was going on inside the Disney company, and in this particular episode, a certain game called "Kingdom Hearts" was stated to be in development. It blended the common RPG elements that I loved with the unforgettable Disney movies I'd been watching sine I was just a toddler. I knew then I HAD to have it.

I got this amazing game a few days after it came out, then soared through it like I never knew i could. It was retired on my bookshelf in a couple of weeks.

I fell in love with the characters that had been worked into the story. They were all from a game series called "Final Fantasy"...

Matt

I love the way you're telling this story... it suggests to me that you might have found the biggest RPG series through a backdoor entry. Fun! I'll let you keep talking though.

About a month after beating Kingdom Hearts, i won a contest on Radio Disney, and with it, five hundred bucks. I spent this money on the newest installment of the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy X. I fell in love with it from the minute I turned on the PS2.

Matt

Wow, yay! And the rest of the RPGaming world welcomed you to the big ol' crowded bandwagon.

This led to my undying love for all things Final Fantasy; I picked up part X-2 a few years later, along with every single remake all the way back to part one.

Matt

That's a wonderful story. You're exactly the kind of "newcomer" that I love: The kind that likes the new games a lot, but who also keeps an open mind to the great games of the past. I think that both the new and the old hold great things for RPGamers, as long as they're willing to give everything a fair shot.

We're glad you found your way. Yay for Disney!

And, of course, I just HAD to get Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 2 on the days that they come out....

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time also found a place in my heart, along with the Mana series.

I also revisited the Dragon Warrior series with Dragon Quest VIII, and I really enjoyed the game.

Matt

It sounds like you've blossomed into a remarkably well-rounded individual, given how late you arrived to the game! Nice job.

But now, I'm in a bit of an RPG lull. I'm lying in wait for the next Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Star Ocean, or Mana installment, but I'm quite bored. I bought a DS, but there are just too many games to choose from, and I'm kinda thinking that I want a PSP(would this be a good investment, by the way?). And now with all of the next gen consoles, I don;t know which one to get. I NEED some more games to play before I burst. Any suggestions? HELP!!

Thanks bunches. I really appreciate your help.

C.No

Matt

Hahaha, no problem. First of all, the DS and the PSP are the RPG systems to own right now, so I think that you're in good shape with the DS, and a PSP wouldn't be a terrible investment by any means. There are a few things to look out for that you might like a lot: Final Fantasy III DS, first of all, if you haven't played it already, will be something that you may love. Beyond that, there are a few directions you can go in: If you want something less RPG-ish and more actionish, you could try out one of the Castlevania games or the lighthearted Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. If you want to play something completely different, try (just try!) a Mario & Luigi game (Superstar Saga for the GBA, if you can find it, is more enjoyable, I found.) If you want to test the waters of the ultra-franchise that is Pokémon, Diamond/Pearl is actually a truly substantial game that you might enjoy. For something super-hardcore, there's the hateful yet wonderful addiction that is Etrian Odyssey. There are a massive collection of other RPGs, too, of all varieties: From Magical Starsign, to Contact, to Lunar Knights, to Heroes of Mana, the list is long and relatively unknown for me, since I can't play everything! Beyond my earlier recommendations, all you can do is experiment: Don't be afraid- just go and buy something that looks like it could be fun, and see for yourself which games you enjoy.

Barring that, there are a ton of great games on the way, including a load of games in both the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series. Honestly, I haven't even started talking about the PSP yet, and my fingers are already tired.

The PSP doesn't have quite as many nifty games, but it's quickly catching up. With unique games like Jeanne d'Arc and Brave Story, and a ton of remakes like Final Fantasy Tactics and Valkyrie Profile, there would be a lot to keep you busy there too.

I won't go on for any longer, because I feel like I'm going to exceed some word limit sometime soon. But, get back to me and let me know if I was helpful at all to you! I'd like to know what your decisions will be.

Thanks for the letter!



QUICKIES

Hey, this is Julia from over at ALLRPG.com.

Just recently listened to you guys's podcast, and I was wondering if ALLRPG influenced your site to create a podcast and hop aboard the RPG Podcast bandwagon?

Plus, I really like Anna Marie. She's so RPG. Like me. Rhyme.

Matt

Welcome to the site, Julia! We decided to do a Podcast just we thought it'd be fun- and really, it's been an idea that we've been throwing around for quite awhile. After months, we finally followed through. There you have it! (...and Paws, she says hi.)

The new growlanser game is not the first one brought over. Working Delays (I know it WAS designs but come on), brought over 2 and 3 as Growlanser Generations as a double pack with both a limited and non limited version

The Anime Man

Matt

Yes, yes, I got heck for it yesterday. Behold, everybody: Your Matt is a human being after all!

Matt,
I kind of like the SOCK 2 armor system. In SOCK 2, armor doesn't increase your defense (Though some armor does). Instead, it's primarily used to give you a special ability. Incidentally, this is also the system in Yggdra Union.

Flamethrower

Matt

Kewl. Yeah, I never played Yggdra Union, but I like the idea of having armor that helps enhance your abilities. In Sock 2, it helps to make the Defender class more worthwhile. In other games, it just helps to add an extra layer of interestingness, if that's a word.

Hey Matt, Have you noticed how almost all the answers to Hot Topic #3 have been old school games? Makes you think about the quality of games put out 10-15 years ago as opposed to today.

~Chris~

Matt

Now that's a tongue-in-cheek statement if I ever heard one. I'm almost scared to reply with an agreement or a disagreement, for fear of sparking a wildfire. You know my official stance: There is great value in both the old and the new.



IN CLOSING

I think that this is it: Boojum will perform his full co-host on next Tuesday in my stead! This prize is nearly a year in the making; yes, it's been that long since the conclusion of the original SOCK. Of course, I'll still be running the sequel as usual on Tuesday, so there is no need to fear. But, send him a letter or two now (Friday night) if you want to address something to him personally.

Otherwise, I have to insert my requisite apology here: I really do wish that I could get around to everybody's letters, but I'm afraid that that would be impossible. Hang tight, if yours hasn't been answered: Sean might do the deed this weekend, or myself next week.

One last hot topic to round things out? Sure... let's keep it on the subject of wishlists, hopes and dreams. What "dead" series would you give your firstborn child away (well, not REALLY) for in order to see it reborn and revitalized? I mentioned Golden Sun above, but there are several other examples out there. I look forward to hearing from you!

Whether you've been writing or just reading, I hope you enjoyed this week's columns. Have a great few days, everyone.



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 59 - Ahh! Letter-ball!



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt is celebrating an important day on Saturday!


Fourth anniversary? Say it isn't so...

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On my Wishlist:

1. Dragon Quest IX

2. Metroid Prime 3

3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

5. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker



On my Portable/VC Playlist:

1. Etrian Odyssey/Metroid Original

2. Shining Force

3. The Legend of Zelda (NES)



On my Console Roster:

1. Metroid Prime 3

2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance/Valkyrie Profile 2(?)

3. Tales of Symphonia



Hot Topics:

1. Which "dead" series would you love to see revived?

2. What games/RPGs are you looking forward to this fall?

3. What's the longest you've ever played an RPG in one sitting?

4. What announcements are on your wishlist from the Tokyo Game Show?

5. Do you have more or less time to play video games in the fall?



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