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ASK MATT
Plain Vanilla
November 15, 2006

Matthew Demers - 17:23 EST

OKAY, THAT'S IT. I absolutely do not get Mist Quickenings. Sorry. Not only are they completely inadequately explained in the instruction manual, they're not even mentioned in the game itself, as far as I can tell. I can tell I'm supposed to be doing something after using one, but I don't have any time at all to figure out what that something is before "time's up" and I waste my 40-some MP up on a pitiful attack that does 80 damage. Yeah, this is Final Fantasy XII. Yes, I'm a little bit frustrated. Am I just stupid? Did anyone else have this problem?

Grr. This is exactly when the thought of curling up with FFV Advance or my brand new copy of FFIII and taking a trip back in time sounds awfully nice. Don't get me wrong, FFXII is going okayly, but a few things are just getting under my skin.

But yes. Oh, right! This is officially the first week of history in which every Final Fantasy has been available in English format. Grab your copy of FFIII DS today! It's in stores now, and I can't wait to give my own a whirl sometime later in the day.

Anyway, this has been a failure of an intro, with me leaping from one rant to another, and getting excited about random topics. So, I'll put the intro out of its misery by jumping now to the letter part.




LETTERS
You don't have the SNIFFLES, do you? Maybe you need some decongestant <3


Matt,

I don't really have a problem with the the fact that they are running into a few errors with the backwards compatability. Here is a list of the games that are having problems on the PS3 http://ps3.qj.net/PS3-Backwards-Compatibility-status-list/pg/49/aid/72577. The only game on that list that bothers me is Valkery Profile. Sony says that they should be releasing an update soon that fixes many of the problems, followed by a game by game fix to ensure full compatibility. I don't mind that much because I won't be using my PS3 to play older games for a couple years. I wouldn't want to needlessly tire out my PS3's laser on games that can be played on a system that is 6-7 years old.

Matt

I guess that I'm just a little bit bothered by the fact that they didn't care to reveal any of this information before all those Japanese consumers went out and blew so much money on the system. If Sony indicates that their console will be fully backwards compatible with past systems, then that's what I would expect! It's part of what I would be paying for, in my mind. Then, to get a list of incompatible games as an afterthought? I don't know. It feels like they were intentionally being dishonest, to me. If I get a PS3, it won't be for awhile anyway, so I'm not too worried about it. However, I wouldn't have had a problem if they had made the effort PRE-release to let consumers know that, well, no, it wouldn't be FULLY backwards compatible. In that case, they would have at least been honest, and I think that would have been the respectful road to take; a decision they chose not to make.

Thus, the way I see it, this issue is more the "principle of the thing" than anything.

On a seperate note, I would call myself an FF fanboy. I love every Final Fantasy except mystic quest, chrystal chronicles, and I'm one of those "VII is overrated" guys. I hope I don't get attacked for saying this... I have put in about 70 hours of time into FFXII now and although I am amazed at how much I am enjoying the gameplay, I am finding the story lacking. I mean a plot exists and it is pretty good, but there just aren't enough or long enough cut scenes. I have played for over 10 hours without seeing a word of dialog from any of my party members. I'm not asking for the overabundance that X had, but I would at least like my party to say something after killing a boss, or turning in a big hunt. I like to keep a mental score in my head as the game progresses and at the halfway mark the game was a 9.5, but I feel like the score has dropped to an 8. Hopefully there is a really strong ending, because a good ending IMHO can make a game worth all the hours spent on it.

-TheBluick

PS. I read everyday, write rarely, have tons of free time, but could never get myself to play sock even though I wanted to... God I suck.


Matt

There's no LAW OF Q&A that says that you have to participate in my silly games, so just don't worry about it! I'm only glad that you're reading!

As for Final Fantasy XII, I'm not really that far into it yet, but I'm enjoying the story well enough so far, I guess. The gameplay is the most in-question thing, as far as I'm concerned. Though combat is a little bit deeper than the demo led me to believe, I'm really not a fan of the Gambit system on the whole. I really, really miss having "solid" control over everyone in my party that I can change depending on the situation. Sure, gambits allow you to program what you want people to do, but there's no way for them to be flexible enough for any situation. For example, obviously, one will want to change their course of action if fighting seven monsters at a time instead of just a single enemy, and I just don't see a way to do that. I want to STEAL, for instance, with one character, in the easy battle, whereas I'd rather focus on fighting in the big hard battle. There's no way for me to do that unless I go INTO my menu, and change everything in every single unique situation. Wrong. Not good. Otherwise, fighting sometimes gets boring when you just play "supervisor" every time you have to battle something. Am I off base here?

Anyway, I hear you too. I don't think the game is perfect by any means either, so far, but I have a long way to go. It's about an 8.5 in my books, right now, if you want to look at it that way. If anybody has a problem with that, I welcome your rebuttal!



Outrage!


What's up! I've been reading RPGamer for a few years now, and I've finally decided to start writing in and all that. Although SOCK seemed a bit complex for me, I'll try my hand at SOCK II when it's out.

Matt

You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I'm not sure when the next rendition will be unfurled, but I hope that when it is, we'll see a lot of new faces. :)

About that article at ctv.ca, it seems that Sony just blatantly lied that the PS3 would be able to play all games from the PS1+2. When about half of those games might not work, and Sony's spokesman says that "the problems in playing the older games were not a glitch and had been expected," that is just unacceptable, in my opinion. I just got a PS2 this summer (finally!) and I'll be happy with it for quite a while, but all this BS doesn't make me want a PS3 at all in any case.

Matt

It seems that many new video game consoles ship with these glitches and errors these days, doesn't it? I think that Sony should have just been upfront with this information instead of waiting until after 88,000 people had bought it, don't you? If it was genuinely a glitch, then the first consoles should be recalled and the fix should be implemented; maybe that's why the company is stating that it's not a glitch. They've had enough financial difficulty in the last year without having to worry about a recall of their expensive new toy... and the negative publicity that would surround one!

Needless to say, I'm not particularly happy either. At least none of them have caught fire yet, though, right?

Anyway, enough of that. So I got a PS2! Over summer I finished FFX and KH. I had fun with KH, but when I got to the end, it seemed so sudden and short. It didn't feel like too much was resolved by the end, and to me it felt more like a short story than a full RPG story, if that makes sense. I liked the story of FFX a whole lot, although Tidus' voice annoyed me a bit.

Matt

You bet. Ugh, Tidus sounds like a pathetic squeaky mouse-man, definitely more useful for looks than sounds. Thankfully, the voice acting is quite better in Final Fantasy XII so far.

As for Kingdom Hearts, perhaps you should give Chain of Memories and KHII a try. They could help to extend and/or deepen the story a bit. I haven't played them myself, but that's what the fans tell me, anyway.

I liked the Sphere Grid system because it was very innovative and it felt more like the characters grew slowly over time. With level-up systems, itís always felt artificial in a certain way. In FFX, those HP+200 and Stat+2 spheres look kinda dinky at the time, but over time they add up to quite a lot. And even if during most of the game you canít really deviate from the given path, at least thereís the potential for it and itís visible.

Matt

I'd honestly love to go back and play the game differently, by utilizing those special spheres quickly, instead of just holding onto them dumbly and uselessly. The key spheres and teleport spheres made the system a whole lot more interesting! I only played through the game once, and I've never really felt a whole lot of desire to go back since, but maybe one day. When am I planning on retiring again?

What I like about the FF series is that at every new game it changes something. The best example for this is VIII (which I hear some people love, and some people loathe). Itís a brand new and original setting for an RPG, with the insanely innovative (and controversial?) junction system, and the unusual theme. I havenít thought about it in over a year, but now I wanna go play it again! The only thing I didnít like was the drab gray menu color Iím looking forward to FFXII but Iíll be waiting a while for the price to drop down. Iím just a college student, after all! I donít have my PS2 with me because Iím in Japan for a semester abroad, which reminds me... any requests?? I keep seeing Mother3 at all the game stores I visit, and though Iím not the biggest fan I feel bad for all those abroad who were hoping for it to be translated. Maybe itís time game companies started reading rpgamer.com?

Matt

Yes! Yes, they really need to! Mother 3 was one of my most-wanted games for so long, and my hopes were dashed, trampled on, and spat upon. Congrats on the semester abroad, though! I hope it's going well for you.

Anyway, I agree. Final Fantasy has managed to keep the formula fresh by never quite sticking to a single formula. I'm personally in the "love" category, as far as FFVIII's Junction system goes. It was one of those things that seemed so dauntingly intimidating and impossible to understand at first, but became second nature in surprisingly little time. Very cool, indeed!

Final Fantasy XII will still be on store shelves in a year or so, and with the impending release of PS3 games, I'm sure it won't be long before the price gets cut swiftly.

Question time! This summer I bought: FFX, FFX-2 (job system!!), KH, Xenosaga (loved Xenogears), and DQVIII (yay!). I had wanted to get Phantom Brave but EB Games was all out! Sabotage! Would you recommend Phantom Brave, or another one of the Nippon Ichi games for strategy-filled goodness? What about the Shin Megami Tensei/Persona series? Samurai Legend Musashi? I enjoyed Brave Fencer :) I know this is a lot, but Iíd appreciate any advice!
Thanks Matt! (Hoping it is indeed Matt) Take it easy,

-Leviathan

Matt

If you're going to get a Nippon Ichi game, for heaven's sakes, make it count! Get Disgaea or Disgaea 2, if you haven't played them already, because they're far superior, in the opinion of almost everyone I've talked to. I really loved both of the Disgaeas, so I'd recommend them over Phantom Brave, which I've heard is glitchy and frustrating.

Shin Megami Tensei is a neat little series that I think more people need to get into. I keep intending to play, because I'm worried my brother will kill me if I don't, soon, but I haven't had the chance. It sounds like Devil Summoner is a bit "average", but Digital Devil Saga and DDS2 are supposed to be fantastic (but difficult! Beware!)

The last one I haven't heard anything about, so I'll just have to give you the default advice: If you're not sure, and you're on a tight budget, there's nothing wrong with renting first.

Best of luck with the rest of your time overseas! Perhaps we'll hear back from you before too long. Thanks for your letter, at any rate!



More on Sony's newest scandalous secret


PS3 not backwards compatible?!?! Okay, now I know that Sony is smoking something if they think that the mass populace will like that one. Especially with their lovely price tag accompanying it. I know I certainly will hold off on a purchase of one until either a) they fix either the software and/or hardware to allow legacy games or b) the console comes way the heck down in price.

Matt

In all fairness, you were probably adopting a similar strategy to me in the first place; I doubt you were planning on buying the system close to launch anyway. $659 in Canadian funds is just way, way, WAY beyond my pricerange. Maybe a price cut will come in time for Final Fantasy XIII, though! I wonder when we'll hear a few more details on that game? It was announced as a 2007 title, after all...

I did find an IGN article from the beginning of this week concerning the same issue. In it, the mess up with the PS2 and PSX titles on the PS3 is somewhat likened to how some PSX titles won't play on the PS2. I don't know how much of it is true, but apparently, a lot of legacy titles are lagging or ending up with their audio unsynched from the video. Some of the titles listed as having problems in the article include some recent enough RPGs even like Xenosaga II or Radiata Stories.

Matt

Wow... that's really unfortunate! My brother will NOT be impressed with the Xenosaga title, that's for sure. I haven't taken a look at the exact list, yet, myself, but those are two games that I still might play sometime in the future, for real. I won't kid when I say I'm a bit discouraged by this news!

The article does give a Japanese site that is databasing PS2 and PSX titles that have been reported to be buggy on the current PS3. You have to have a basic understanding of Japanese to use it, but it is interesting to note that playstation in Japan is already anticipating a need for listing all the gaming jams the new console will produce. Shady much? I wonder if the US site shall follow suit?

I can't blame Sony, though if all titles are not working. Some software does not always appreciate new hardware. Heck even between the PSX and the PS2 there were a few games that choked. I've only run across one in my collection, though, which is Kings Field. I would be really put out if more than maybe two titles in my collection did not play on the PS3 then.

Matt

Yes, but as I've already said a couple of times in the past, if it was to be expected, they had a responsibility to admit it beforehand rather than make bold claims. The same thing goes for Nintendo's system too, of course. If I get to playing the Wii and find that a considerable fraction of Gamecube games won't play on it, I will not be impressed! It's false and misleading advertising, and they should be put in hot water over it, if I have anything to say about it.

So, enough ranting. To sum it up, Wii for the Win, and never buy a new console out of the gate due to bugs, glitches, and maybe-next-times.

Heh, did you notice the RPGamer's site window title has "It's not a bug, it's a feature!"? Foreshadowing, perhaps?

Have a good one!
MagRowan


Matt

While I'm optimistic for the Wii, you never know; it could turn out to be buggier still. We might have a better idea within a week or two, hmm? The next generation is about to begin in earnest!



Youuuu're... so Vaan! I bet you think this song is about you, don't you?


Something different: http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/5389/77466 My favorite of InuYasha's ending themes. Your take?

Matt

Let's take a look-see (or a listen-hear, if you prefer). I don't usually care much for ending themes, but I can make exceptions from time to time.

Hmmm. Nice powerful beat. Cool techy sound. Average vocals, I guess. Actually, I rather like this in the end!

A quick note to DMJewelle: I have more music than just 80's stuff. If you're curious, ask Matt - it seems we could have compelling discourse regarding many topics. And I've watched all the Sakura Wars animated material except for the first OVA: while Tomizawa Michie (Kanzaki Sumire) has retired, the Paris and New York casts are all still intact. Sakura Wars 5 just came out in 2005 after all, after she retired.

Matt

Are you reading, DMJewelle? This one's for you. :)

Her co-hosting has had long and residual after-effects in debate, hasn't it?

Temporal anomalies corrected. Commentary coinciding with temporal orientation: now.

Matt

It sounds a bit like you need to play some Xenosaga!

No one else reading Q&A has played Dragon Force 2, so my mistake went uncorrected. But Tristan is the nation allied with the enemy for awhile in DF2, not Fandaria again. I mentioned how its music reminds me of other games several months ago, so I'm sending the field theme http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/1130/39 and the logistical theme http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/1130/40.

Matt

Eee! I like the creative piano in the latter much more than the stereotypical sounds of the first. I am quite prone to enjoying well-placed piano in musical themes throughout all video games, and this one is no exception.

I implore of you, Matt: can you find a comprehensive translation of Sakura Wars 2 anywhere? Ere I run overlength, the scenario cannot be described overly, but I ran into a long stretch with Sumire (she of the retired voice actress) where I had no idea what I was saying. Big no-no when Sumire's angry face is scary! I also ask of the Q&A readers at large!

Matt

Negatory. I took a few minutes and typed various combinations of words into Google, but all I got were sites trying to throw advertisements at me for the VHSes of the Anime series. Sorry.

RPGamer lists Guardian Heroes now, so I can talk about it at large! It's a beat-em-up at heart, so get your twitch gaming face on! Typical Treasure high quality though. If you're ever around my Saturn, I invite a two-player smashfest. http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/1414/15 - this seems to be the theme of some guys called the 'Muscle Heads' - who must of course be fought and beaten.

Matt

You would kick my behind from here to kingdom come, of course. The only sort of smashfest that I'm any good at are those found in Super Smash Brothers; heck, even Star Ocean games can frustrate the crap out of me!

Grandia is my current devotion. Damn fun, although the Saturn translation project was halted thanks to Sony getting one out. Here's a genuine commentary for my musical links: although the regular battle theme http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/213/7 is good, I find myself letting enemies get the drop on me to hear this one http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/213/30 Am I daft?

Matt

Oh, do you get a different battle theme if you're surprised in battle? How interesting. Hmm. The first one actually is pretty likable. It sounds at the beginning like it'll turn out to be just boring, but it quickly becomes unique and genuinely interesting.

The second, however...

Hmm, actually, I think I like the first one better. Maybe I'm the one who is daft here, but I think the first one is more fun to listen to, and a little less repetitive too! Both of them are fairly good, at least.

Horrible story of recent days to relate: my GBA-SP refuses to recharge. It had been temperamental that way for awhile after I tried to make the headphones work consistently and apparently damaged that outlet, but I was tired of adjusting the plug every 5 minutes and tried to twist it around so as to avoid such. Failure. The light does not come on anymore. And so I must think long and hard about repeating my steps of 2 years ago and getting another GBA-SP, or upgrading to DS. Comments?

Matt

Oh, that's too bad!! If you have to invest in a new system at this point, go for the DS. It's just a few bucks more expensive, and you're effectively getting two systems in one. There are a fair number of great games to invest in already, too, with all sorts on the way. I'm sorry about your loss~

I always, always want subtitles. I'd even try subtitles for a Godzilla movie - I paid to see the original in its Japanese format in the theater. The recent Dutch film I saw looked good, but it was dubbed - NO. I HATE dubbing of movies more than I can convey. Video games are trickier, but I prefer to not understand what is being said instead of being inundated with crappy voice acting that makes me laugh or groan.

Matt

...but, at the same time, it's so much fun to tease the bad voice acting that does exist. Life wouldn't be the same if it wasn't for all of the bad translations and awful actors out there!!

Plus, you'd never be able to send me those "Bad Voice Acting" links, either, would you?

Here's another Shining Force III example:
http://www.audioatrocities.com/games/shiningforce3/clip5.mp3 This is said by a Vandal boss at the end of a rough battle, and the Vandal cannot be harmed until a character uses a holy item on it (Kahn is the ONLY one who can carry the item, so if he goes down Returning from the battle is mandatory). But hearing that line takes me out of the moment and gets me laughing. If only his line when casting Spark magic was online for you to laugh at....

Watashi no ugoki, mi ki reru ka!?
JuMeSyn

Matt

The worst part is that my audio player is set to repeat anything on its own upon its conclusion. Not only is it bad, but I hear it over, and over, and over, and over again until I click Stop. "He's Scum! He's Scum! He's Scum!" Ick.

Thanks for your latest selection of conversation pieces, JuMeSyn!



QUICKIES

You know what I love most about FFXII? The ability to get in over your head. The freedom to adventure where you want (even if you aren't ready for what awaits) is what makes RPGs so special. What do you think?

-thinkfreemind

Matt
I know I went on a bit of a tirade back in my introduction, but I totally agree with you! It's been so long since we've been able to venture off to a place "we're not supposed to go yet" only to get just -slaughtered- by a ridiculously powerful monster. Despite the 2006 aesthetics, I feel like this game has a few hidden (and welcome) surprises for fans of old-school Final Fantasy!



IN CLOSING

So, everybody has seemed to have quite a reaction to the newest information on the Sony front. Does anybody else have anything to say on the matter? And how about that Final Fantasy III? Is anyone journeying through the refurbished new land of Onion Knights already? If so, I'd love to hear your comments!

Thanks for reading, and I'll be back in the morrow!



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slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt got a random haircut today!


It was the last haircut I ever had before becoming the owner of my most-wanted game of the year! I'm so excited to give it a try!

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What I Want to Play:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

4. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

5. Pokťmon Diamond/Pearl



What I'm Playing:

1. Final Fantasy XII

2. Xenosaga: Episode III

3. Final Fantasy V Advance



Uhhh...

This space seems awfully, terribly empty, doesn't it? :(



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