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ASK MATT
Encroaching Turkey
October 3, 2007

Matt Demers - 20:40 EST

I CAN TASTE IT NOW. Can you? Yes, it's my mom's roast turkey and homemade apple pie, much to the misfortune of my waistline. Plus, I can't even prepare ahead of time by getting to the gym! This awful Ill status ailment sucks bigtime.

Another day at home today, from the looks of it. Will things clear up soon? Stay tuned, and enjoy this selection of letters while you wait:




LETTERS
PS3s, PS3s everywhere, nor a game to play.


Hey Matt,

I've only written in once before, and it was to googleshng, but he printed it, so there's only one way for you to prove to me that you're as cool...

Matt

Proven? It took a few days for me to get around to you, but I made it. Google was cool. I kind of miss the days where I'd be eagerly anticipating his columns (and Cast's too). Actually, I liked Cast's better, thinking back.

The day is coming, one day soon, where the sun will have come full circle. And as the sun sets on my time in the Q&A Captain's Chair, the sun will rise upon a new era; an era where I once again will be able to enjoy the day's newest edition over a delicious bowl of crunchy cereal without having to worry about publishing one of my own.

Anyway, your letter.

Anyway, your question today about which system I'm rooting for really grabbed me today. And it's 2:30am. But what system am I hoping to win the battle, or at least turn it's fortunes around? PS3. Why? Cause I went and bought one. See, for the last few generations (all the way back to SNES), I was never the first kid on the block to have a new system. I wasn't even the 10th, usually. But now in adulthood, having managed to actually acquire a bit of a career and my share of shiny pennies, I had to be the first guy I knew to own a ps3. Actually, almost a year into it now, i'm still the guy I know who has a ps3...what a great guy to be buddies with, I guess. But after walking through Enchanted Arms, and puttering around in Oblivion as long as I can, all I have left to do is play through all my old ps2/1 games that the system still plays, while hoping for something worth the $600.00 entry fee. Now I find myself feeling a terrible pressure to go out and get games that i'm only mildly interested in, because I feel that if I don't support the system now, it's going to be completely useless in another year! Virtua fighter, motocross, spiderman,why aren't you awesome? I guess I should just hold out for disgaea and FF13, but really, I'm getting tired of going into eb every other week to see they've dropped the price on Ridge Racer 7 another loonie, (that's canadian for dollar...actually, now that's canadian for about a buck five). If anything, I've learned to wait it out a year or two when the next systems come out to see which is going to be worth going after, because I honestly haven't had a gaming experience yet that's truly "next gen", and certainly nothing that's going to be getting replayed 10 years from now (Chrono trigger and FFIV get played every year...I can't wait for the DS remake of FFIV, and really, doesn't that tell you where I'm sitting with the PS3?)

Still, that shiny little bastard sure looks purty...

mrwheaters

Matt

I can't say I blame you! If I spent that kind of money on something, I'd want to have something to show for it too.

I totally know what you mean about finding not-that-interesting games interesting, being a Wii owner. It's been a pretty slow year for Nintendo's system too, and things are just starting to ramp up a bit now. So I know how it feels to wander to the local Gamestop or EB Games and start looking semi-longingly at games that you know in your brain you really aren't going to enjoy.

The problem is that while good games ARE on the way, there are very few of them that are appealing to... well, me, anyway. I'm sure that Final Fantasy XIII will be fantastic in the end, but we essentially know nothing about it, a year and a half after it was revealed. Disgaea 3? It's interesting that that might be the PS3's first great RPG, and it could be very beneficial for series-recognition. But FFXIII is likely a 2009 title. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that it's almost certainly going to be at least a 2009 title, given how little we know about it at this point. It's depressing, but it looks to me like a reality.

So, what can I say? Hang in there. One day your investment will pay off, and hopefully in spades. Until then, be glad that since you got an early model, you CAN play any of your old games. (I can't believe they're removing complete backward compatibility on future models...)

P.S. After re-reading this letter to make sure it didn't come out super lame, I've realized I use the old triple period WAY to much for it to carry any meaning. It must seem like I keep running out of breath...

Matt

Hey, don't worry about it. About six months after I began here, one grammatically-frustrated reader wrote in to raise hell over my ellipsis-abuse as well. I was a little bit embarrassed, because I realized that they were right; it's just way too easy to overuse those cute little things. On top of that, we're all fans of the one genre where "......." can take on about seventeen different meanings. Only we truly understand!

Thanks! I hope I'm at least pretty high on your cool-o-meter.



More on Console Wars


Hi Matt!

How are you today? I am busy as can be but I am making the time to write you a letter because I love you! :D

Matt

Aww, man... and just look! Total coincidence: I'm making the time to answer your letter, too. It's proof that I love you too.

I wanted to talk to you about Persona 3. Now, I preordered this game months in advance because I am a fan of the Shin Megami Tensei games. I bought Persona 2 way back in the day. I also LOVE Digital Devil Saga (one of my favorite games of all time). I've played Nocture and it was fairly impressive but it was difficult to get into after the awesomeness of Digital Devil Saga. I just love the simple yet strangely complex battle systemss and mature storylines. Anyway, needless to say, I had some high expectations for Persona 3 and I was very excited to play it.

Matt

As with many people. I've been talking with some that have been waiting for this game for a long, long time. Now that it's finally out, it seems to be getting some sweet reviews, too. What do you have to add?

After a while of playing the game, here are some of my thoughts.

I knew coming into the game that it would be a sort of high school sim/dungeon crawler. Despite that, I am trying to like those aspects. The high school sim isn't too bad. Basically you view a teensy bit of storyline on most days (which a lot of the time is a line or two or text) and go to school. After school you decide which of your friends you want to hang out with that day to try to raise your "Social Links", which power up your different types of persona. Then in the evening, you decide what activity you want to do to raise your character's personal stats, I guess you would call them. You raise his Charm, Courage and Academics - all of which are used only to access new social links (make new friends). You do this almost EVERY DAY. It's pretty unique but I really wish it weren't such a big part of the game. It is literally probably more than HALF of the game so far.

Matt

That's different. Really, I haven't heard much beyond the Persona bit and some things about the battle system, so this is one side that I haven't heard of yet. It sounds like a cross between The Sims and, um, something else. I can appreciate when something is a bit different, as long as it isn't monotonous, though the way you describe it, it definitely sounds like there is some monotony involved. Hmm, hmm.

The other half of the game is a randomly generated dungeon crawl. I know how you feel about randomly generated dungeons and I usually feel the same way. I must say that this is not a very nice "break" from the constant sim that is the other half of the game. You go up a tower with randomly generated floors leveling up, attempting to find the next checkpoint and doing lame, and doing annoying "quests" that are usually "kill this rare enemy and get their item". Honestly, it seems like just a place to gain experience... only so that you can access the next floor so you can gain more experience. It doesn't feel very rewarding at all.

Matt

Yeah, I can't say that the idea of randomly generated dungeons has ever or will ever appeal to me, though hopefully they put this into practice with a little bit of care. To be 100% perfectly honest, I've never played a random-dungeon crawler game that I've ever particularly enjoyed; the "best" ones were Dragon Quest Monsters, which was tedious, and Lufia: The Legend Returns, which was *gasp* also tedious.

The Persona system is pretty fun. I guess it's sort of like a combination of monster collecting and a job system. Each Persona that you collect or create gives you a different set of skills, stats, strengths and weaknesses - almost like a job class! Pretty cool. The crappy thing is that out of all the persona I create, I don't use about 70% of them. Also, only your main character can change their persona - all of your other characters are stuck with the same one for the whole game. Which brings me to another annoying point - your other party members in battle.

As you probably know, they are controlled by AI. While it's not necessarily BAD AI (they do "learn" what types of attacks work and don't work), I think I was spoiled by FF12. It's just no fun when you can't control your whole party in a turn based game!

Matt

Hmm, yes. My alarm flags were raised when I first heard about the AI aspect, but it sounds like certain things were incorporated to make things kind of cool nonetheless. Also, the Persona system does admittedly sound like something that could addict me fully. I mean, you say that you don't use 70% of them, but I know a lot of people who never use half the classes during Final Fantasy V, either. A guy like me, though- well, I just have to try them out, you know? Heh heh.

Your AI concerns aside, I guess that the battle system is the one place that really intrigued me in the end, based on things I've heard from others. Of course, you know me by now: The battle system is ALWAYS where I'm intrigued most- it's just the way I'm built.

The story so far isn't much to speak of either. I don't want to give away any spoilers, and I don't think I'm too far into the game (I'm only on the 3rd month out of a whole school year) but the it just doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I'm hoping it improves because it does have potential!

Matt

Eh, yeah. Patience is key- I mean, if you aren't even one-quarter the way through the game, there's lots of time for things to accelerate.

I could keep writing more but that would just be nitpicking. Anyway, there are plenty of things that I DO like about the game but I wanted to give a different point of view than those that keep raving about it. I just really don't see what the hype is about. Honestly.

Talk to you later! Or maybe right now.

-Anthony

Matt

Well, I'm glad you did! I think it's important that we get all sorts of different opinions banging off each other here, especially for people who are on the fence when it comes to taking the plunge. And who knows, Anthony... maybe by the time you make it towards the end, you'll have fallen in love with a lot of the things that you aren't too fond of. Maybe not. One way or the other, I assign you to get through it (if you can muster it), and then report back your findings! It's a mission that only a man like you could accomplish. Do you accept?

Thanks a lot for the letter; it's a bit courageous to put in your two cents if they are of a different, uh, currency from everyone else (worst analogy ever). Anyway, it's good to hear from you!



My name is Quistis... and I AM GOING TO EAAAAT YOUUUUUU!!


Hi Matt,

Hope you feel better soon! Sometimes I wish real life were like an RPG. Just cast Esuna (or the like) when you're sick and it's all taken care of! Or go out and kill some monsters for instant cash!

Matt

Look like you're a flawless 18-year-old right through the age of 30! Blast someone with a bolt of lightning if they do something you aren't fond of! Speak with all the ellipses you want without getting made fun of! Use save points to check out all the different ways your life could end!

Oh yeah, I'd love it if real life were more RPG-like. *sigh*

But then some nut in a clown outfit or some other oddball with a mutant mother would probably show up and ruin it all for everyone else.

Matt

And just imagine all of the people out there who would have villainous underlings. I don't know if I could deal with all the underlings...

Anyway, I just wanted to communicate my excitedness about the Dragon Quest remakes coming out for DS, along with the Final Fantasy IV remake. I've been getting kinda crazy about this stuff. I'm planning on getting a DS at some point this year and checking out all these hotties. This is good because prices fall as time goes on and I'm just a college student! My current bank balance is $2. I'm at an all-time low.

Matt

Oh jeez, that is definitely the price of a hamburger. You need to do something about this!

But yeah, you have a ton of things to look forward to with the DS, past, present, and future. Final Fantasy III, Dragon Quest IX, Pokémon (if you're into that sort of thing), Etrian Odyssey, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time... and that's just scratching the surface. Really. And that's only considering RPGs, too- there are SO many good non-RPGs for the little handheld as well.

In any case, I do think that current games and consoles are overpriced, but at the same time it's only been a year since the release of the latest generation. I doubt companies are going to significantly lower prices at the moment, but that's just me.

Matt

True. But it'll come, sooner or later. We already know that Nintendo has the breathing room to do so, and the 360 just recently went through a little price cut, if I remember correctly. The PS3, well, sorta has. Give it a year or two, and we'll be dealing with some more smile-inducing costs, for sure.

I was thinking about the unique abilities question, and I ended up on the Devour ability in FFVIII. Kind of odd but funny. FFTactic's Mustadio's Seal techniques are pretty useful.

Time to do some homework....
-Leviathan

Matt

Very odd! I somehow knew that someone would choose Devour, even though I used it only once or twice myself. FFVIII was full of strange techniques, though, on both the enemy and the ally side. Rinoa's PuppyTechs and Selphie's THE END aside, I remember back to those creatures (they might have been Wendigos, but I don't know for sure) that would crunch one character up into a ball and then dribble them as if they were a basketball. So, so, utterly strange. Yet fun.

Later, Levia!



A feeble attempt


Hiya, Matt,

So I bought Phantom Hourglass yesterday, snapping one of the last copies at the specific store I was at, anyway, but I'm sure there will be more. So, ah, can you stop time for everyone but us RPGamers who need to play games now? Thanks!

'Til next time,

Josh

Matt

Well, putting aside that whole problem with me not existing in an actual RPG, let me give it a try.

Matt casts Stop! But it didn't work...

Damn those stupid status spells- they never, ever, EVER WORK! *grumble*



Sickling = me


Hey Matt,

Definitely, one of the best reasons to be sick is the opportunity to get some gaming in as I miss work. Between that and the extra sleep that I get, it almost makes it worthwhile to be sick. With the backlog I have going, I swear there is a part of me that wants to get sick for a day or two. The problem is, I almost never get sick, and I'm unfortunately too honest to take a random "sick" day when I don't need it. It's been almost two years, although that was a nice pair of back to back days...

Thanks!

BigWook

Matt

Seriously, me too. And you know, I feel like a lazy slug this week too. I've done a few minor things at home, workwise, but beyond that... not much.

I almost never get SICK-sick either, and like you, I'm not the kind of guy who regularly feigns illness (even for Dragon Quest VIII when it came out! Remember that?) It's probably been two or three years before this week since I've stayed home from campus.

When I indicated that I might go back today through e-mail if I was feeling better, Herb sent me a message back telling me that I needed the rest, so don't bother. I'm really lucky to have him for a supervisor, honestly.

So, I have one more day to doddle, and I'll probably do some napping and gaming and medicine-taking. I can feel myself improving though, which is a good sign. Metroid Prime 3 finished... today? We shall see.

Merci, Monsieur Wook.



QUICKIES

Hey Matt,

Favorite unique ability in an RPG? How about the ability of the main character in SMT games to talk to demons in battle? That's always fun and can go in a bunch of different directions.

--Boojum

Matt

Wow, that's unique? I talk to demons all the time, like when I'm doing laundry or biking to school. They're always trying to get me to do silly things, but then I tell them no.

Sorry for the quickie todayÖ Got Phantom Hourglass? I do, but canít play until I get home. Sigh.

Have fun, either way!

~Sean~~

Matt

No, no. No new handhelds until I beat Etrian Odyssey. Wahh, I haven't played that game in a month now- that Golem loss was just way too painful.



IN CLOSING

Hmm. A topic above just screamed "hot": If real life were more RPG-like, what would be your favourite aspects? That isn't really the best wording, but you get the picture. Whether it's cure-all sleeps at hotels, the ability to revive dead people for the cost of a few measly MP, or the ability to spend hours rearranging strange ellipsoid crystals on your favourite armband in order to learn some funky spells, I want to hear from you!

I have one more day in this shortened week: Then, the turkey and Thanksgiving shall take control. I've got to conserve my energy so that I can emerge from that battle victorious!

OK, see y'all tomorrow.



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 49 - *cough*



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt needs to get back to work! For a day.


I also forgot to update the "most recent columns" dates yesterday. What a strange oversight.

Most Recent

Oct. 2: Matt

Oct. 1: Sean

Sept. 30: Sean

Sept. 29: Sean



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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



Hot Topics:

1. Nearly a year into the console race, who do you think is gonna "win"?

2. What is your favourite unique RPG ability (like Runic, for example)?

3. Have you ever taken advantage of illness to play excessive video games?

4. If the world were more RPG-like, what would the best parts (and worst parts) be?

5. Are new video games and consoles overpriced?



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