October 13, 2006
Bainick - 23:06 EST
OKAY, SO IT'S SNOWING in Canada, good for them!
We're going through a 10 year drought nation-wide at the moment, which is even worse due to the fact that
Australia is also the driest continent. But we'll just cop it on the chin as
per normal, its not like we can change the nature of the planet in 3 heel
clicks of our red shoes now is it?
In other more RPG related news, i'm having a blast in Kingdom Hearts 2,
especially with some of the sweet new costumes of which I won't give away.
Though I'm always getting the "other" costume for some reason, though i'm
not complaining, its uber fantastic, whatever that means.
Oh and Suikoden 5's been pushed back yet again to the 20th, which will mean
when I finally get it, it will have been pushed back a month since when it
was meant to be released. Go figure! Oh well, I'll end my sob story here so
you can, well read I guess. Go on read my words and know them to be truth, oh
and enjoy my item for today (heh heh), thanks to Matt who helped define it
to make it a bit easier on him. I get a little too carried away with myself
The bloat begins! Or has it already begun?
Dang, thatís a lot of video games in a short span of time for me...first
Harvest Moon DS, then Cooking Mama (Iím going to put that aside for now)
followed by possibly Contact and then FFVA, FFIIIDS and Phoenix Wright:
JFA. I smell a very large backlog.
Backlog, did someone mention backlog? I don't think you can comprehend the
backlog I'm facing at the moment. I have an entire shelf dedicated to this
word BACKLOG. Its so enormous I twitch everytime I look at it. Whats that,
did someone ask what my backlog looks like? INSERT MATT RESPONSE HERE
You summoned? Oh, um, yes! What DOES your backlog look like, O almighty Bainick?
Okay i'll go through it, but I know i'm going to forget something!
Legend of Zelda Link to the Past, Orcarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind
Waker, Final Fantasy 4,7,9,10, CC, Grandia 1 and 2, Skies of Arcadia, Tales
of Phantasia/Symphonia, Phantasy Star Online 1&2, Pokemon Stadium, Fire
Emblem: Path of Radience, these from the local video stores; Alundra 1 and
2, Dragon Valor, Megaman Legends. Star Ocean 2 and 3, Suikoden Tactics, Dark
Cloud, Dark Cronicles, Baulders Gate 1, 2, and Dark Alliance 2, .hack/(Half
way through Mutation), Breath of Fire 5, Dragon Quest 8, Drakengard 2,
Xenosaga 2, Legaia 2, Magna Carta, Makai Kingdom, Ys Ark of Napishtum, Wild
Arms 3, Lunar Genesis; these are from a friends chipped console; Dragon
Warrior 7, ChronoCross, Breath of Fire 3, Wild Arms 1 and 2 and Legend of
Dragoon (since my copy is stuffed). I think there's more but I think that's
enough for the moment, don't you?
HMDS I can set aside at any time since itís a fairly open-ended game but it
looks like Iíll have to tackle these in order...Do you normally play a lot of
games considered open ended (no visible goal in sight, you just play until a
certain goal is reached or until you get bored?)
I'm sort of both... I love the Harvest Moon series, as does my mum (still
waiting for Magical Melodies though). Actually i've only missed 2 harvest
moons, they being the '64 one and the first PS2 one (I have BOTH versions of
a Wonderful Life). I'm really bad at staying the path in a RPG. And its
usually right before the final boss, I played Morrowind (glitches and or)
for about 48 hours the first time but didn't go anywhere near the games main
story. I played blitzball in FF 10 for about, 180 hours and left the story
at just after the Yunalesca bit, though my blitzers had levels in the 90's
befoe the Memery Card fell victom to my brothers unguided foot. 15 goals was
my record for a single game too. Back to the qustion ('cause I guess I have
too) I just taper out when I get bored. I think its happening In Wild Arms 3
at the moment because i've lost my sandcraft somewhere and the searching
isn't getting fruitful. And I really don't want to start again in it!
And now a personal note from our favorite Lunarphobic anthropomorphic mouse:
OH NOES ITíS A LUNAR QUESTION!!!!eightyoneisbucketsbowlingaverage
#342 is A and #343 is D...complete guesses both.
And its still higher then mine. I once got a 150 and a 7 in the one night,
I haven't been able to write in at all lately, as indicated by precipitous fall in SOCK, but I have been able to buy and play rpgs. You might remember how bitterly I was complaining about the large number of must have games coming out at the end of this year. Well, through some creative financing and call in some favors from some *ahem* "Men of Honor", I was able to purchase Disgaea 2, Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria, and Tales of the Abyss all on their respective release dates and will probably be able to get FFXII without any trouble. So, YAY for me!
Oho! It sounds like you've found yourself a connection or two. Good for you. Now the tables have turned: I'M the one who has been bitterly complaining, though more about my own workload than at the number of games slated for release. But you were always a loyal reader; you know full well that this column is merely a tool used for my own ventilation.
About the never-ending SOCK: Don't sweat it! I'm glad to have you back! Questions are probably worth a bit more than you remember 'em, and there are a few other small changes, but you already have a substantial score to build on. Good luck, if you're planning to jump back in!
Anyway, I never played the first Disgaea but, after playing Disgaea 2, am definitely going to give it a try. Disgaea 2 is the most engrossing crack-like game I've played in a long time. For one stretch I played for 8 hours straight from 11:00pm to 7am and only stopped because I had to go to work. I haven't done anything like that since high school. I wasn't even tired; my mind was all worked up on geo-panels and cross species reincarnation schemes, not mention my unbridled joy at corrupting the corrupted senate to the nth degree. Sheer bliss! Incidentally, I only bought the game because you recommended it; so thanx.
You're more than welcome! I love the fact that there are so many ways you can go about playing the game. It's probably not the optimal strategy, but I personally like reincarnating characters into better versions of what they were and then stacking their high stats for maximum-concentration-of-skill. It's really addictive to a number-lover like myself, and you're right: The game IS like crack for those of us who always secretly loved leveling our people up to ridiculous heights. The best part is, you can reach levels 500, 1000, 2000, and still face a considerable challenge!
Valkyrie Profile is another game I missed the boat on the first time through and am kicking myself for now. I was initially turned off by the side-scrolling nature of the game, but somewhere in chapter 2, my love for platform jumping resurfaced. It has a good story with a nicely muted sense of coming dread that I find appealling and one of the most innovative yet intuitive battle systems I've ever encountered. There is a tendency to mash buttons almost randomly to get through the dungeon fights, but you will be punished for this in boss fights which is an element of difficulty alot of rpgs lack. I may have to actually find a way to play VP:Lenneth now.
Find a friend with a PSP if you don't have one! I've heard that the remake is pretty darn good. The original regularly sells for $toomuch on eBay, though, if you wanted it badly enough.
Tales of Symphonia is one of my top five favorite games of all times. It wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. The story was derivative, the plot "twists" were obvious and overly forshadowed, and the two player battles were useless due to the leader-centric camera. But I loved the characters (except Collett), and the battle system (in single-player mode) kept me endlessly entertained. I also loved collecting titles, cooking, and the combination of linear and nonlinear storytelling. Tales of Legendia was a big disappointment for me personally. The characters were hard to relate to, the world was extremely limited, the battle system was horribly easy, and the storytelling was imbalanced and klumsy (whenever you have three unwinnable battles in less than 3 hours, the game is in trouble). Tales of the Abyss returns to the excellence of Symphonia in a big way. I've only played about 3 hours worth and I'm hooked already. So far the battle system is the best part. Tales Studio added an element call "additional skills" that actually evolve the gameplay as you go. Be sure to check it out.
Good! All series have their black sheep, but it's good to hear that TotA might successfully get the series back on its feet. There was also a "Tales of the Tempest" in development for the DS at last check... I wonder how that's coming along? Hopefully they'll deem it worthy of a North American rendition in the end, hmm?
In light of my new burning passion to play Disgaea and VP:L, what games do you most regret not playing when you had the chance at initial release. For me, those two are topping the list right now.
That's really tough!
I think that like you, Valkyrie Profile has to be somewhere close to the top of my list. I've heard so many great things about it and how creative and original it is. Unfortunately, this only occurred after I took over here a year ago, long after it was ever available.
I think that atop my list, though, must sit Xenogears. I do in fact own it now, but I just haven't had the energy (or the time, frankly) to get through the game. I bought it only after I was completely wowed by the first Xenosaga, but even now, three years later, I haven't progressed past the first couple of areas. I really, really want to see what the game is all about nonetheless, though, one day; I just regret not playing it earlier, back when life used to be, um, easier.
It's great to hear from you again, Cap! Thanks for the letter.
Skies of Arcadia, Final Fantasy V, and uh, a wasteland.
Let me join the teeming masses who are undoubtedly
singing the virtues of Skies of Arcadia to you right
now. True, I can't begin to boast the RPG pedigree of
some of the posters to this site (although I've been
playing RPGs for over 20 years, including
pen-and-paper AD&D), but I can say unequivocally that
SoA is my favorite RPG ever. (Well, okay: Wasteland.
But that's probably nostalgia talking.)
I enjoyed it quite a bit too, though as per usual for me I stopped playing
as I neared the final boss (like the last save point beforehand), I think
that battle against the other Vyse's team really annoyed me, mostly because
I just couldn't beat him. Bah!
Yes, critics will note that SoA's story isn't
particularly profound, and I'll accept that. But
otherwise, the game is almost perfect. The battle
system is awesome; the pacing is great; and you really
come to love the characters, even the villains. More
than anything, it's just FUN to play -- with a
swashbuckling, happy-go-lucky attitude that you just
don't find in many RPGs these days. If you get a Wii,
I'd *highly* recommend dl'ing Skies of Arcadia
I won't recommend it as highly as you, but it is my third favourite RPG on
the gamecube (behind Paper Mario and Legend Of Zelda: WW and just slightly
ahead of Tales of Symphonia)
*******[WARNING: Final Fantasy V SPOILERS]********
As for Final Fantasy V, I think it's every bit as
enjoyable to play as -- frankly, overrated -- Final
Fantasy IV. And perhaps better than FF IV, based on
the nifty class system.
Still havn't beaten Gogo but anywho...
I think the main knock on FFV
is that character development basically consists of
the main characters' family members dying, over and
over and over again. Eventually it just gets comical,
which I'm sure was not the intended reaction. I also
think FFV also suffers from many RPGamers encountering
it simultaneously with FFVI (on the Final Fantasy
Anthology set for PSX), where FFV obviously suffers by
comparison. But it's a fun enough game, I think.
Certainly more fun to play than, say........
Ohh what could it be, Aydin's Chronicles, FF: Chrystal Chronicles, Harvest
*******[END Final Fantasy V SPOILERS]********
What??? I was expecting something more known for its pathetic quality, and
you made me wait just to read that, for shame, like...
***KH2 SPOILER*** ...the Atlantica
section of Kingdom Hearts 2, how did they get those voice actors to repeat
such drivel???, No game should have such a bad song section of a
game. ***END SPOILER***
Yes, I know this is just asking for
abuse, but I honestly fail to see the appeal of this
game. Despite my discipline, I can't make myself get
through it. Indeed, I'm probably no more than 33%
through the game (although I haven't picked it up in
over a year). But the pacing is SO slow -- and the
battle system SO lousy -- that the very thought of
spending another 40+ hours with the game makes me want
to run right back to work. Hopefully, you or one of
your readers can (in a non-flamatory manner) instruct
me as to the hidden pleasures of this game. But in my
experience thus far, I've found getting a tattoo to be
an all-around more enjoyable experience than playing
Xenogears. (Maybe it's just the endorphins.)
Sorry I can't give it any positively glamouring reviews on this game either,
mainly because I havn't played it. Actually I've only played Xenosaga 2
which so far as been the only game to be released PAL side of the series,
just like so many other RPG's. Maybe Matt can help shed some light on it...
And as you likely read above, I'm not exactly an expert on the subject either!
I will say one thing, though: There are a lot of people who would agree with you,
so don't feel like you'll get "abused" by speaking up here. Xenogears represents a very
different style of RPGaming that not everyone is able to appreciate. From what I played, too,
the battle system and gameplay can lack at times. I can't blame you for feeling the way you do!
Compare and contrast: beating the Sewers beneath Vegas
in Wasteland. Hell yeah!
Still don't know what Wasteland is.......*checks a faq*........Still don't
know, 'cept EA has the rights to the game.
Quoth the raven, 'Evermore!'
oh my gosh! Secret Secret of Evermore fans! Add my name to the list, kids, 'cause I'm a secret Secret of Evermore fan too. I liked the unabashedly campy sci-fi and the sense of humor it had, and guy-lost-in-an-unfamiliar-reality stories have a special place in my heart. And the combat system was a step up from Secret of Mana; while you could tell SoM was programmed by guys who were used to making games where timing and reflex played less role than tactical planning, SoE was a lot more responsive, had sharper hit detection, and was generally less buggy in battle than its spiritual predecessor.
It did have a few balance issues, though. Specifically, I did not appreciate having to relearn all my charge-up skills for every new weapon I acquired, which is not only annoying but unrealistic. How are these techniques transferable between spears? They're spears. Similarly, having to level up every single alchemy formula was extremely annoying, and it was fortunate that SoE generally rewarded muscle over magic.
You're right. Secret of Evermore had its share of issues, but it came through in many other ways! Not only did the areas really tie in together; the alchemy system just went together magically with the rest of the game and the setting, don't you think? I loved searching for ingredients, and I remember how exciting it was when I'd find something new or really rare.
On the other hand, the two-character party got old quickly, the character development of the hero was nearly nonexistent, and as you say, certain elements of the weapon system were pretty annoying.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the game. As a gameworld, Evermore really does have a special and unique flavor to it...it's definitely a lot more creatively-envisioned than most of the anime-influenced sci-fantasy you see out there in RPG's. And the world cohered. Somehow, the elements really fit together in some inarticulable way. In spite of its flaws, I certainly had fun playing it and exploring its virtual realms.
Well, I'm glad to have found a friend! While it is my belief that Secret of Mana is the better game out of the two, it is also my belief that they shouldn't really be compared in the first place, since they're technically unrelated, outside of the borrowed battle/ring-menu systems.
This topic came up once before, almost a year ago now, and a whole lot of "closet" Secret of Evermore lovers stepped up to the plate. I know there are more of us out there!
Thanks for sharing!
I should beat Disgaea 2 this weekend if I get the chance. I've got a bit of marking to do first, though. How unfortunate!
Disturbingly, I had a dream last night that I had spare eyes sealed away under skin-covered pockets in my forehead. I've felt downright ill ever since; every time I've thought of it today, I've touched my forehead reassuringly. My brain KNOWS that I'm terribly squeamish, especially where eyes are concerned. Ugh, why does my subconscious do this to me?
For complete contest rules, click here!
Answers to October 12th's Questions
#344. b) 36 degrees - 800 points
#345. e) 6 - 900 points
180 degrees, divided by five different angles. It isn't six; the End of Time option isn't marked by a tick on the dial.
Yup. Not much more to say about this one. Oh, Earthbound was the game, if you were wondering. Most of you got this right though, surprisingly... I honestly thought this would be a more difficult question than it was in the end. Ah well!
Which of the following terms can best be associated with a "Magic Egg" that flies around casting Freeze spells?
c) New Year's Day
"T.V. It's fun" is a quote from a SNES RPG; what sort of building is the
person who says it in?
In case you've forgotten, it's a co-hosting day, and you know what that means! A new item shall be unveiled. This one is the Dueling Glove!
The one who possesses the Dueling Glove will have their name immediately put atop the scoreboard, above the summon. Anyone, on any day, may choose to do battle against that person. The answers submitted on that day by both attacker and Gloveholder will be compared. The one who receives the most points based purely on the values of the questions (i.e. not taking into account any bonuses or point-boosting status effects) will win the duel. If the gloveholder wins the duel, they will remain atop the scoreboard and the glove will act as a sneak glove for the day, stealing one random item from the challenger. If the winner of the duel is the challenger, they will instead receive the Dueling Glove themselves as well as a random item out of the loser's inventory.
The person holding the Dueling Glove also receives increasing sums of bonus points the longer that he or she can hold out. 200 bonus points are awarded for surviving one day; 300 more after two days, 400 more for three, and so on. The potential is certainly there to increase your score by a wide margin and to snag some items, too!
Everyone who gets both of today's questions correct will be entered into a draw for this one-of-a-kind item. Best of luck!
Obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!
Point Doubler (1 left),
Mythril Armor (2 left),
Regen Spell (2 left)
Any 1st-Level Elemental Spell (2 left),
Point Halver (1 left),
Drain Spell (2 left)
Slowga Spell (2 left),
Float Spell (1 left),
Damage Deflector (2 left)
Sneak Glove (2 left),
Any Gem (4 left),
Biora Spell (2 left)
Shuriken (1 left),
Rename Card (1 left),
Scan Spell (2 left)
Mythril Armor (3 left),
Hyper Beam (1 left),
Wait Mode (1 left)
Vanish Spell (2 left),
Sadness Stone (1 left),
Item Destroyer (1 left)
Mythril Shield (1 left),
Drainra Spell (2 left),
A.P.G. (2 left)
Toxic Waste (1 left),
Sean's Dictionary of Doom (1 left),
Holy Spell (2 left)
Rare Candy (2 left),
Rebirth Stone (1 left),
Hyper Sneak Glove (1 left)
Dark Converter (2 left),
Drainga Spell (2 left),
Apocalypse Spell (1 left)
Rare Candy (2 left),
Cloak of Evasion (2 left),
Point Tripler (2 left)
Meteor Spell (2 left),
Item Bomb (1 left),
Any Gem(3 left)
Rare Candy (2 left),
Diamond Armor (2 left),
Gold Sword (2 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!)
- Josh (1 day left!)
Obtain enough points, and you may buy items, merchandise, or guest-hosting positions.
Click here for the current list of potential prizes!
Which in your opinion is a better modern day era RPG
threat/villian group, Robots, Demons, or Aliens?
Also don't wimp out and say zombies or other people or
*needs a main villian group*
Its a good thing I'm no wimp being Australian and all (though I struggled to
sit through the Blaire Witch project, actually I probably am a wimp but I
still have perfect skin). Anyway i'd say tellitubbies. You never know when
they're going to leap out of the T.V. and start sucking out all of your
brain matter whilst an evil floating baby head laughs at you maniacally. Oh
and seriously something that no one would expect like an actual organized
group that get along and have reasonably good henchmen working for them. I'd
go on but this was meant to be a quicky so....
This seems, to me, completely uninteresting to the readers so you shouldn't post this.
Regarding the bus, I always move to an empty seat if there is one. I don't find anything bad with that.
Also, as I've said I went to a Neil Gaiman thing and he was reading stuff. I recorded him on my mp3 player and while it's not very high quality, it's pretty cool. I know Josh was interested, so could you tell him to e-mail me his address? In a few days I'll upload the file online (using yousendit or something) and then he'll be able to get a copy for himself. While you're at it, tell him that I thought about getting him a signature but they limited us to two signatures a piece.
Hah! I have thwarted you and posted it anyway. Sure, it probably isn't that interesting, but I got a kick out of the response, so you'll just have to cope (or scroll down, if you prefer). You wouldn't believe how many other people wrote in with advice. Just watch:
As to your bus etiquette question it's not just a macho thing; around here anyway both men and women will move when there are free seats. I think it's just the sense that one should give other people space when that's an option. I wouldn't stress out about being rude, though. After all it's not like there's a manual-- Bus Etiquette for Dummies. ;)
Incidentally, the proper way to handle sitting next to a gentleman on the
bus, is to continue sitting next to him. There's no reason for discomfort;
you are not insecure about your sexuality - quite the opposite in fact. Nor
should he be. Some people opt for extra elbow room, and that's cool too.
If you take up crocheting baby booties or explore your murse filled with
Revlon products, then it may be appropriate for him to move. Otherwise, or
unless he cares to sit and chat with you about his own murse or Rip Taylor
or some fabulous what-have-you, there is no reason for discomfort!
Hope that helps,
As for your bus seat dilemma...that's a tough one. I say do whatever your current mental status tells you to do, and don't worry about what your neighbor thinks because who would be able to figure that out anyway? If I were in his position, given what you did, I might think that I had some sort of charisma that was preventing you from moving away from me, and I'd be flattered (LOL), or I might just see you as one of those people who doesn't feel the need to move just because there's an empty seat somewhere else (But I am a girl, and girls do think very differently). If he's a jerk, he might be thinking something more negative, but then if he is, who cares about him anyway, right? On the other hand, if I had been in your position, it would depend on my mood that day, whether or not I was feeling claustrophobic, what kind of vibe he gave me, and whether or not he was hot.
Anyway, my point is that you can give yourself a headache trying to analyze these things to figure out what society wants us to do, so just do what YOU do.
Personally I don't see a problem with sitting next to a guy
even if you could later take another one. It would be a little weird
to sit down near him, if the rest of the bus is empty.
And you are right, changing seats afterwards could probably deliver a wrong
I would just stay where I am, and if he feels uneasy with that, he
can always tell you.
But then again if you don't like it, just change seats, it's your right
Phew, I hope I didn't sound too confusing or silly.
Have a nice weekend,
In the end, I guess I still don't really know what to do. Maybe I'll base my
decision solely on the guy-in-question's smell after all. ^_^
That's all I've got to share for this week! I'll return next Tuesday as always, but you get to spend some time with Ouro until then. I'm sure he'd love to hear from all of you lucky buckos who managed to get your paws on a Gamestop or EB Games pre-order for the PS3 or Wii. Were you one of the people to wait for hours before opening time in the hopes of being first? Write in and tell us about it!
Thanks so much for another great week, and thanks to Bainick, who did a fine job cohosting as always. Have a great weekend, everybody!
Inbox Status: Wow. Awesome!
Matt doesn't like the idea of spare eyeballs one little bit.
Yeah, those ribs? I think that they might have been the true cause of some of today's ill. Owwie. I like spicy, but perhaps not quite to that level...
Oct. 12: Matt
Oct. 11: Matt
Oct. 10: Matt
Oct. 9: Josh
SOCK's Rule Guide
SOCK's Prize Shop
About the Host
Bainick's Top 5 Most Wanted Games:
1. Suikoden V
2. Final Fantasy XII
3. Wild Arms 4
4. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
5. Harvest Moon DS
Bainick's Most Played:
1. Kingdom Hearts II
2. Samurai Warriors 2
3. Pokťmon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team
Dueling Glove Holder:
Summon in Play:
11. Alan Tse
17. TV's Adam
17. Arros Raikou
27. Hunter B