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ASK MATT
Trip to Insanity: Population 2
September 26, 2007

Matt Demers - 23:48 EST

THIS COULD WELL BE ONE of the busiest days of the semester. I'm here at home starting things now, but I had class at 8:30, chatted with Herb/did some programming afterwards, I have a presentation to go to at 2:30, and then I have to invigilate an exam for the first time this fall at 5:30! I'll do my best to get through as many letters as I can right now, but I'll come back tonight and finish Sock, which should hopefully go up NOT as late as it did yesterday.

I think I need a double to accomplish things for me. Where's Gemini Man when you need him?

Oh, and to all Planet Puzzle League players: I scored an incredible 7200 in Lift Attack last night. Oh yeah- booyah, for the three of you that care. Sorry, I needed to brag.

OK! Let's find some succinct delicious morsels of letters for me to answer.




LETTERS
Another Saga vote!


Heya Matt,

So worst game ever. That's not to hard for me to throw a shoe at. It was Unlimited Saga for the PS2. I was a moderate fan of Saga Frontier 1 and 2. So seeing Saga (and the name SE) I thought I would pick it up. I was quite disappointed with the game. I thought the artwork was interesting but outside of that ... eww. I felt like I was 5 years old again scared of girls cause they had "cooties". Even the voice acting wasn't that great, which was kind of depressing cause some of the VA's were some of my favorite anime voice actors/actresses. Granted voice isn't the most important thing but the game system wasn't that appealing for me either. I have to say that one game has remained in my collection to remind that there are indeed really horrible games made by some of the best of companies.

The Anime Man

Matt

Sounds like a real winner. Though I don't have much in the way of first-hand experience, I know that Saga games have been awfully hit or miss, especially in comparison to Square Enix's other flagship series. Between Seiken Densetsu and Saga, you have to wonder why two series with such great potential get dragged through the mud with such frequency.

Let's see if anyone else has a Saga game as their vote for "worst" ...



Well, it's not a Saga game... in ONE sense.


Matt,

It's hard to really say I hate a given RPG, since if I don't like a game, I usually just don't play it, but there are a few that annoy me for one reason or another.

-As a kid, I saved up allowance for several weeks to get Seventh Saga, after seeing that it was the only new RPG out at the time. That game has seven available protagonists, and you choose which one you will play at the start of the game. At several points, you have to fight the others, and unlike regular bosses, they level up every time you do, so there's no way to get stronger than them. After investing about 10 hours into the game, I got to one of these battles, and it was against a character whose main attack was one that my character happened to be weak to, so I died every time in two rounds of combat. I wasted another 10 hours or so trying different strategies, leveling up, finding items, etc. to try and get past the battle, before giving up in disgust, so that is one of the few games that I actually dislike.

Matt

Oh, I KNOW! I played The 7th Saga back in the day, and it was really tough. But you're right: Those character battles are ridiculously stupid, and I have to wonder what Enix was thinking; did they forget to playtest altogether, for example? I got to one of those battles too, and found that there was absolutely NO way that I'd ever survive, because somehow my opponent would be able to do six times as much damage to me as I could to it. Yet, I'd bet my bottom dollar that if I had the reins of that character, there'd be -no way- that I'd be capable of dishing out that much destruction. Yeah, really frustrating.

-I resent the modern Mana and Shining Force games for betraying everything that made their series popular to begin with.

Matt

Agreed. Emphatically.

-FFVII for the annoying fanboys that think it's the be-all-end-all of the RPG universe. It was a decent enough game (though overhyped, overrated, and a disappointing drop off from VI), but the fanatical devotion it inspired in people that won't even look at other series gets on my nerves.

--Boojum

Matt

Ahh! Sound the contention-alarms!

Yeah, the FFVII hype machine will be going until the end of time. You know, we "live" in a pretty good community here, where a lot of people have a lot of different tastes, and while most people recognize FFVII as a good RPG, everyone knows that there are others out there.

I know I say this a lot, but take a trip to Gamespot's forums, and meet the most brainless bunch of idiots I've ever not met. I'm sure that not EVERYONE that goes to Gamespot fits in this category, but for instance, under the Square Enix press conference for TGS, showing off some neat titles... or back when they did the Final Fantasy 20th anniversary thing, 90% of the comments were really irritating. Largely, they were to the effect of "Booooring- where's my PS3 FFVII?" Or "SE you dropped the ball hear I swear Im boycoting the company until they annouce FINAL FANTASY VII!!!"

Not cool. NOT cool. And that's the kind of attitude that I can't stand. It isn't the game itself that annoys me, because it's honestly one of my favourites of the series. But, I can understand why you might get a little irked from time to time.

Thanks, Mr. Boojum! You should come and host sometime.



Oh yeah... that one.


Least favorite game? Summoner. I had just purchased a PS2 at launch and wanted a RPG. Summoner was there, so I picked it up. It's not fun to have the first experience with a shiny new console be with a shiny new POS. I only played it for about 45 minutes before I just gave up on it. It still sits on my shelf, unfinished. I don't count it as part of my backlog, because I don't intend on finishing it. It's not even worth selling. It's so worthless, I don't even know why I still have it. It just sits there, a constant reminder that launch games suck. Or that westren console RPGs suck. I forget.

It doesn't even work well as a reminder!

Matt

Hahaha. Actually, it's funny: When I received my PS2 for Christmas, I also received Summoner! It was my very first PS2 game, and I remember thinking that the graphics were crazy. Hahahahah. Sigh. Um, the problem with the game for me was that the difficulty curve was frustratingly high, the load times were frustratingly long, the towns were frustratingly innavigable, and the battle system was frustratingly something else, too.

My biggest problem, however, was none of these things: I was forced to play it on a TV, for the first year or so, with great brightness problems. The dark blue text was almost impossible to read unless ALL of the lights in the room were turned off. Not good.

We have to remember: If it wasn't for those launch titles, the good ones wouldn't have anything to build on and learn from!



Wow, I really messed up the heading of the last letter yesterday. Jeez, Matt, it's called "English".


Hey-o Matt,

Hated games, a quick list:

Final Fantasy Tactics: Advance. I like strategy games. I like role playing games. I hate games that require you to wear a specific piece of equipment long into uselessness in order to master a skill that is basic to a certain job class. For this reason alone I dislike FFT:Advance. The reason I hate it though is the slow gameplay and not very interesting story. I never finished it so maybe it got better. I'll never know.

Matt

Truly! I really don't know why they chose to emulate Final Fantasy IX's blah-blah-blah skill system when such awesome ones as those in FFVII, VIII, and X would have made much more interesting choices. What do we know?

And yes... the mission-based style is not one that I'm particularly fond of. It's different from some other more linear tRPGs, where you feel like you're fulfilling objectives and doing productive things. But when you have to take some random sidequest to deliver some random item to some random merchant for the sole reason of having to get through x number of missions to advance the story, something is lost along the way.

Grandia Xtreme. One for perpetuating the loss of the letter E in words with the letter X. Two for wasting the best turn based/action battle system on a pointless dungeon hack with no story. Oh and terrible voice acting. Rip your ears off and stuff the mess into your ear canals bad.

Matt

Ugh, agreed on the X: It's with some embarrassment that my favourite Dairy Queen Blizzard is the Chocolate Xtreme blizzard, and I feel like I die a little every time I order one. I guess this gets lumped in the same category.

It doesn't sound like you're terribly in favour of this game, Ken. Dunno why.

Xenosaga. I loved Xenogears; played it to death. Xenosaga took all the ripe opportunity of that amazing game and smashed it into a billion rotten pieces. I played it through to finish hoping the entire time that a good game was hiding in it somewhere, but it simply wasn't true. And seriously why did they even bother to make the game 3-D? You can't even rotate the camera around, which was something it's predecessor did. If they'd made it a 2-D at least they could have saved enough money in production to follow through with their 6 game promise.

Matt

*gasp* Contention alarms! (again)

I should have known that some interesting choices would come up with a Hot Topic like that one. You know, I love Xenosaga, and I thought that Episode III was one of last year's very best games. But, perhaps that's because I don't have that Xenogears background that you do? Not sure!

The games are, of course, in 3-D because that's just the thing to do these days. You know the story, Ken!

Ok so it's short which is probably good. These are the games I truly hate. I've been called upon to defend my stances on these before. I'd do so again. But I understand that other people like them. Hell I thought I hated most Final Fantasy games after 7. I dislike them somewhat, but hate is a little strong of a word for them.

But not those three offenders. Hate is almost too forgiving.

Looking forward to your comments,

Ken

Matt

Hey, at least you have some good reasons. Hate is a strong word, but the word exists for a reason. And sometimes, games are just so bad that you can't accurately use any other word to describe them.

Back in... oh, Grade 7 or so, we rented this game that is, in my mind, one of the worst non-RPGs I have ever played. It was called Young Merlin. What a stupid game. It had a Zelda or even King's Quest-like intent, but the game was evidently designed to defy the awful headaches of having to do any localizing, as there was absolutely ZERO text in the entire game, choosing instead to go picture-based. Yes, can you see the voice bubble with a flower in it? That means "I want a flower! Bring it here and further this awful extended fetch-quest of a game!" The effect, of course, was to make it seem like a preschool experience, except that some parts were definitely NOT at a pre-school difficulty level. Despite the fact that there was no text, there was, however, some high-quality voice acting. That is, if you think that strange, garbled "Munehwmaneh?"-sounding gibberish comprise voices. Piece it together with the stupidest music you've ever heard, and you have yourself a real winner. In the worst way possible.

And that's my story of a game I hate. Thanks for yours!



QUICKIES

Hi Matt/Sean,

Who is your favourite 4th generation Pokemon?

Dermot

Matt

Dermot! There weren't too many that really inspired me, but I have to say that when I saw a Mismagius for the first time, I got a tingle up my spine. I knew exactly what it had evolved from, yet it was totally unexpected! Plus, they look just AWESOME.



IN CLOSING

My LP (letter-points) have been used up for the day, and so I leave you with this to ask yourselves: Do you think that games and gaming consoles are overpriced? Yes, it's a completely new and out-of-thin-air hot topic, so have fun with it, if you like. I'm outta here.

Bye for now!



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 40 - a good solid bunch



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt is wondering how long he can go on like this...


Really, the problem is that every time I NEED to get up early to go to campus, I end up having a terrible time sleeping. It just doesn't work!

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On my Wishlist:

1. Dragon Quest IX

2. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

4. Dragon Quest IV DS

5. Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass



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



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5. Are new video games and consoles overpriced?



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