THE CRAVE GAMING CHANNEL
V'lanna
 






Affiliates
extralife
metacritic
AnimeBooks
AnimeNation
GameMusic.com
Play-Asia.com

Send a Letter Mail Me Recent Columns Archives

ASK MATT
The Day After
November 28, 2006

Matt Demers - 20:46 EST

AFTER BEING FACED WITH somewhere in the neighbourhood of twenty flans to battle at a time, it quickly became apparent to me that I didn't have a chance against them, and so I tried one last-ditch effort: Status magic. However, as I cast the spell and saw twenty different "Immune"s pop up on the screen all at once, it dawned on me: Final Fantasy XII really is just like any other Final Fantasy. Ho, hum.

Between that game and Final Fantasy III DS, I managed to get in a surprising amount of RPGaming this weekend. Aren'tcha proud of me? Next weekend, though, all bets are off.

Anyway, Boojum was supposed to step in and present his second of many co-hostings today, but that didn't work out too well. Instead, you're stuck with plain old me. Are you ready for some Q&A action? Let's start off this brand new week!




LETTERS
A twist of the past with every slice of the new...


Hi Matt!

How are you!? I noticed that your inbox is doing "tripleplusungood", so I thought that I would finally send you a super special letter from yours truly!

Matt

Excellent! And much appreciated! The ol' inbox is definitely not as bustling as it was back in the olden days, when we had certain competitions present to keep it so. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm doing fine. Don't worry about me. I'll be even better in a few weeks, when Christmas vacation strikes, of course!

As you know, I've been playing Final Fantasy XII lately just like everyone else. I love it a lot and it gives me a lot of Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy Tactics nostalgia. There are soo many little connections! People have debated whether or not they actual take place in the same world or if they're just using the same names for fan service. I've heard theories of different points in the history of Ivalice (FFXII > FFT > Vagrant Story, I think). It sounds very logical to me and I can actually see more ideas supporting that theory than contradict it. It actually makes me really happy and I really want to go back and play FFT and VS now because of that. Not only to see the connections, but also because they're amazing standalone games – some of my favorites of all time, in fact. You should play them if you haven't gotten a chance to yet. Yasumi Matsuno (I hope I'm spelling that right) has an amazing mind.

Matt

I absolutely love Final Fantasy Tactics as well, though I haven't had the pleasure of playing Vagrant Story. It's not only the big things, though; there are so many bizarre little connections to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance which stir up nostalgic emotions I never thought I'd feel towards that handheld game. The portrayal of all the different races is just awesome, the inclusion of certain spells and techniques, and even the little nose-and-mouthless portraits of your characters in weapon shops... they all make me squirm with delight.

I wish I could play Vagrant Story one day, though. It's apparently one of the most critically acclaimed games of the past decade.

How do you feel about multiple games spanning similar worlds/universes, but having unrelated storylines (i.e. Xenogears/Xenosaga, Wild Arms, FFXII/FFT/VS)? I think it's really cool and it greatly immerses you into the worlds, hoping to find neat connections and getting all giddy over them. A lot of people try to disprove these connections, saying that it's merely fan service, or the creator could never have thought of and connected all of this beforehand, and that so and so doesn't make sense because of so and so. I honestly think that they're analyzing too deeply. Of course it isn't all going to make sense and connect absolutely. Of course they couldn't have thought of it all beforehand.. It's a story coming from a person's creative mind, not factual history. It's a living, growing story as the creator decides to change and develop its history, happenings and connections. The human mind IS known to err and change quite often. :)

Anyway, I'd better get back to work... or continue obsessing over these games. Whichever!

Seeya!
Anthony!

Matt

I think that the little connections in RPGs are a big part of why I love the genre so much! As I was saying above, I think the little consistencies are so exciting in Final Fantasy XII, and the same goes for many other games. You know that my home series is Dragon Quest, and part of the fun for me in each new game is seeing which monsters from old games have been "brought back." Dragon Quest VIII was especially exciting, because near the end of the game, there are strong ties to early games in the series, too. When you're a fan of a series for such a long time, stuff like that drives you wild.

So, I think that these connections are immersive, as you say, but you have to agree that there is a bit of fan service going on. Isn't that a good thing, though? If a game company caters to fans and inserts little surprises throughout their games to remind them of all the good things in past titles of olde, well, I dunno; it proves that they really do appreciate the people that have made those very games successes. It shows that a company genuinely cares about its fanbase!

For people who get excited over what exactly comprises a "connection" and spend their lives trying to refute other people's excited and creative claims... get a job. Let them have their fun! That's what games are all about.

Thanks, Anthony!! I'm glad to hear from you.



"Black Friday" ... it sounds more like a historic stock market crash or something.


Hey there Matt-man!

I have to admit, and guiltily so, that I only got to your latest three columns today. Been so busy with the Thanksgiving holiday, followed shortly by 'Black Friday', that I'm just catching up with the rest of things. *Shudder*

Matt

Oh, for heaven's sakes, think nothing of it.

By the way, that "Black Friday" thing is so interestingly foreign of a concept to Canadians like myself. We hear about it on American news every year, but that day is such a non-event for us, probably because we eat our turkey a month and a half in advance. The malls all have their Christmas decorations up on the first of November here, ridiculously.

Lots of family for Thanksgiving. Played some on my new Karaoke game for the PS2, SingStar Rocks. Tons of fun! Then racked up lots of time on SSBM (Super Smash Bros Melee) for the GC. Go figure, my favorite characters to play in that are of the RPG variety (Roy and Young Link).

Matt

Ahhhh!! You just reminded me of Super Smash Brothers Brawl. I swear, I cannot wait to play the Wii sequel.

As for Melee, (big) Link and Pikachu are my favourite characters to play with. Few can stand up to my might! (Actually, I'm sure I'd have my ass handed to me... I don't exactly get to play the game very often, here without a Gamecube.)

Anyway, so, 'Black Friday' did yield something good on top of the lack of sleep from getting up early for 'door buster' sales. One such sale at a local game shop produced a copy of FF III (DS) for $10 cheaper than the opening price! Yeay! Downside is that it is a Christmas present, and as such I cannot play it till Christmas. Nuts... Yep it's that time of year again. Time to catch up on back log! No new games for now.

Matt

No, the torture!!

Congratulations on your find, though. Final Fantasy III is absolutely fantastic. Despite the updated graphics and sound, the game does not lose its old-school feel; not by a longshot. You'll really enjoy it, I hope!

Speaking of back log. The quest through FF4:A continues. Another interesting note for you. I was looking through the bestiary, as I am wont to do, and noticed something odd in the Dark Dragon's profile. The Dark Dragon is the second incarnation of the Dark Elf (think Magnetic cave). Anyway, listed under his stats there are his weakness and absorb stats for spells. According to the bestiary, Dark Dragon is weak against Holy and also absorbs Holy. How in the world do you manage that?! So, strange... Too bad I don't have the right spells to test that little oddity at that point in the game.

Matt

That is... very strange. Perhaps he absorbs twice the normal damage? In any case, I think you could have tested that if you had equipped Cecil with a set of Holy Arrows before the battle (they were called "White" arrows in the original; I'm assuming the name was changed for the Advance remake). Ah well. Interesting observation, in any case.

So, that's about it for me now. I hope your are catching up on your sleeping now that you've got a handle on your project. Let me tell you, I do *not* miss the days of college for that very reason.

Have a good one!
Maggie ^_^

Matt

Yes... in fact, I unintentionally slept for more than ten hours last night, having the opportunity to, and ended up arriving at my one o'clock class twenty minutes late. Isn't that a bit over the top? This Christmas break, I hope to catch up on my sleep in a major way. And my backlog, too; thankfully, the slim PS2s are incredibly portable consoles.

P.S. If you are still on Mognet when I get a chance to play FFIII, though I doubt it will be so, I'll shoot you a letter via Moogle. Less than a month to go!

Matt

You doubt it will be so?! What are you, mad? I intend to integrate Mognet into the very fabric of this column, if at all possible! I need to USE it as an excuse to send lots of mail, because I hear there could be special secrets, bonuses, and the like, that might be unlockable by sending enough. Don't you see? The longer I keep this Mognet-mail thing going, the better my chances are of becoming the master of Final Fantasy III DS! My plan is infallible!!

So, to any of you people reading, help feed my lust for mail, and get in on the FFIII moogle action. You might end up unlocking something yourself!

So there, Maggie. I'll be waiting for your letter, too. You can still write to me in the normal method in the meantime, though, of course!



Characteristics of characters and characterization


I have to say that I felt that the characterization in FF9 was actually quite brilliant for the most part. Amarant wanted to join because he was absolutely intrigued by Zidane. Amarant lives by a warrior's code, wherein if one wins, he utterly destroys his opponent.

Being beaten by Zidane but left alone completely overwhelmed his worldview, and he searches for Zidane to try and learn more about him. Steiner, Dagger, Eiko, and Vivi also had quite solid reasons for tagging along and some great chemistry, a rarity in RPGs. Freya was the odd one out, unfortunately, having no real purpose to stick around other than some nebulous sense of revenge or justice.

As for Quina... well, it's not like it doesn't make *sense* (he's traveling the world in an effort to be a better gourmand) but I do admit it's pretty weird.

Matt

And well, it's not the first time that Final Fantasy games have included absolutely bizarre characters. Take a look at Final Fantasy VI... between Gogo, Umaro, and Mog, there are plenty of seemingly random insertions.

It's too bad about Freya, because she really had the potential to be such a neat character. She has that emotional side that you see near the beginning, but she's also an awesome Dragoon from what I think is one of the coolest kingdoms of the Final Fantasy series. And her theme music was great, too. Thinking about it makes me want to play the game again...

I'm about 40 hours into FF12, and I've also noticed a distinct lack of characterization. However, the *world* around it is far more interesting than most FFs, with countries, histories and politics having more depth to them than any previous FF (and, in fact, *existing* in the first place, where every other game kind of papered over the whole idea of countries and war at all). I'd be more interested in the story if there was more of it, but lately it's been an average of a cutscene per every two or three hours of gameplay. -_- I am absolutely enthralled by the dialogue, though, which is the best I've read since Vagrant Story - some awesome lines, and a genuinely archaic feel to them.

--Cidolfas

Matt

That is very true: If one thing is evident, the translation of the game is absolutely flawless. The speech all seems very genuine, and the voice actors pull it all off very naturally, too.

I tend to disagree with you on the characterization thing, though. Having played about twenty-five hours of the game so far, I'd say that there's about as much as there is in Final Fantasy X. Granted, the characters in FFX were hardly my favourite of all time, but I think that every character in the main party of FFXII so far has a very distinct personality from every other, made evident through words and actions. Yes, there aren't many cutscenes in the game, but I'm finding that this game is one that is built for the level-grinders more than it is for the gooey-plot-lovers. The plot is, I'm finding, hardly "gripping" so far, and I've got to be getting close to halfway through the game by this point. Perhaps things will turn around soon, but for now, I'm enjoying the game for what it is.



Feeling Scruffy?


Hey Matt,

Many of the features you described in your response to The Man They Call Blottie can be found in Twilight Princess. Things like having to use the wii-mote to fire arrows and change the camera angle or even look around.

Both parts of the controller have an accelerometer, so you swing the main unit to attack (use Z-target and analog stick for special moves), while the nunchuck does the spin attack. It's all hard to remember at first, but it becomes near-instinctive.

Matt

Cool. From the demo at E3, I indeed felt like the controls were not immediately intuitive. However, I blame that more on the fact that it was also the very first time I ever held a Wii controller... and not because the control was actually "bad." The controller is brand new, unlike any controller than any gamer has used for the past twenty-plus years; obviously, you're not going to pick it up and have it down within a few seconds' time.

I'm looking forward to playing the game myself. One day. In the future. The NEAR future.

I agree about having to be careful on overusing the feature though. The same could be said about some DS games - if should be an enhancement to gameplay, not an obstacle. So I totally agree with you one that.

Oh, and enjoy FF XII

Playing my Wii and enjoying Zelda: TP,
- Waterfiend

Matt

Yeah, for sure. I figure that games will grow into the control scheme the further along the line we get. By the time we get into late 2007 and 2008, I imagine that a lot of lessons will have been learned by development companies and gamers alike. That's when the Wii will really come of age, I hope!



QUICKIES

HI Matt

I do hope you are kicking back and playing something pleasant. I made the mistake of attempting to figure out what the meaning of your statement about bifurcations was and my eyes crossed. If you do that for a degree then how you can have trouble with the dimensions in a game is beyond me.

Have a good weekend.

A

Matt
Hey- no one said that my eyes weren't crossing, too. I just want the course to be done with. x_x
And yes, I'm managing to enjoy a fair bit of gaming lately! The trio of Final Fantasies is my current focus, of course!


MOGNET MAIL



If you have Final Fantasy III DS, send me your friend code, and I'll add yours! My code is 515 480 192 117. Then, send me mail, and I'll respond to you in the column. The moogles will be waiting, kupo!

Gun to your head, you HAVE to get a video game tattoo. What and where? Me, FFVI's final Boss tower: It works as a tattoo even if unrecognized!

AMD

Matt
That's a tough one, mostly because the idea of getting a tattoo makes me cringe heavily. Anyway, I'd probably have to go with one of the Final Fantasy logos; like Final Fantasy V's Dragon or FFIV's picture of Kain. I think that both of those are interesting, stylized images that would work well enough. I'd probably get it in some common spot, like the top of my back, though I really don't like the idea of having my upper arms stained permanently.



IN CLOSING

That's all I've got for today. For tomorrow, write in to chat, to rant, or to whine about whatever you please. Do you want to tell me about the RPG tattoo that you would get? How about your feelings on the Wii-mote and its application to the RPG genre? And hey, Christmas is less than a month away now. What's on your list?

I'll be back tomorrow, so come on back, and read some more. Take care until then!



Send a Letter!

Inbox Status: Middling.



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt has a superBonusMarking assignment to do tomorrow! Yikes!


I'm suddenly filled with a really huge desire to play Final Fantasy VI Advance when it comes out here. REALLY huge. I can't wait! 2007 will be a great year for video games, I believe.

Most Recent

Nov. 27: Roku

Nov. 26: Josh

Nov. 24: Matt

Nov. 23: Matt



Links

About the Host

Quote Archives

Playstation 3 Compatibility Guide



What I Want to Play:

1. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

2. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

4. Yoshi's Island DS

5. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl



What I'm Playing:

1. Final Fantasy XII

2. Final Fantasy III DS

3. Final Fantasy V Advance



Uhhh...

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



© 1998-2013 RPGamer All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy