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One-Track Mind April 17, 2006

Josh - 11:13 EST

First off: Happy Birthday, bro! I'll get you a present once you actually send me an idea or two! :P

Second: I felt like being a total moron today, so I let my roommate, Neill, guesthost. He's literally obssessed with Oblivion, and I figured it would be nice for a change of pace around here. I'm totally expecting for there to be a riot, complete with pitchforks, torches, and midgets (well, ok...angry midgets). Sorry for the lack of a column yesterday, but there was, for some odd reason...a large number of letters missing from the mailbox. I don't know what happened! That mailer monkey must be at it again...he always steals my mail. But, but, I thought he was thrown in a dumpster the other day? Then that must mean...oh, no. People don't love me enough to send me mail? Waaaaaaaah!

Fine, but you'll rue this day! You'll miss me when I'm gone! Bah! Onward to the letters I managed to scrounge up...




L E T T E R S
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea...


Hi Josh,

For E3 I am really looking forward to Wild ARMS 5. I have actually been looking forward to info on it then on any of the Final Fantasies. Actually speaking of Wild ARMS 5, what do you think of how the character that has been shown looks? What do expect from it compared to the previous Wild ARMS games?

Since people are talking about female heroes I'll throw in my 2 cents, Kanon from Wild ARMS 2. That girl was tough. She may not have been the strongest character, but she was so fast and her gatling attacks were great. But then again I thought most of the girls from the Wild ARMS series are pretty strong female characters (and they are fully clothed too).

I just have one last thing to say......Pitt is better then Penn.

Carrie

Josh

I've only seen the few screen shots, but I like them. A lot. They seem to be getting pretty good at mixing anime and Old West style architecture, which frankly, I've enjoyed throughout the last few games (although WA4 is still on my to-do list...). Wild ARMs has been on of my favorite series since its conception, and I'm always excited to hear of sequels, especially since WA3 was awesome, and from what I hear, WA4 was pretty sweet as well. I hope at the very least that they maintain the Western music, as they've done a good job with it in the past. Although I haven't had the pleasure of testing out the battle system of WA4, I hope that the developers continue to do something innovative with the fighting, without resorting completely to the same old turn-based system from the first 3 (which weren't bad by any means - I just like to see things that are new and interesting)!

Kanon was all right. She was fast and her Gatling attacks could deal a ton of damage. However, she didn't have much of a backstory, and what there was, I didn't care for. But, I do agree with your assessment that the Wild ARMs females are more than able to hold their own in any sort of situation.

What I don't agree with is your completely ridiculous claim that Pitt could even come close to being considered better than any school, much less the glory that is Penn State. Carrie, I hope that whatever this 'Pitt' thing is, that you make sure to rethink your statement before something large, spiky, flaming, and turtle-y lands on your precious head.

Neill, Demonspawn from the Netherworld

I'd like the character I've seen so far, if I knew what sex it was. In my experience, there are tons of 'strong female' characters in console RPGs, they're just all cross dressers who go by boys' names...you didn't seriously think they were males did you? Honestly if they didn't tell you they were boys you'd think they were girls too. Which brings me to Oblivion, you can actually tell the difference there, which is what makes that game so awesome, one of a myriad of reasons actually.

Oh, I would agree Brad Pitt is better than Sean Penn.



All this talk of fist-fighting makes me want to attack someone nearby...


All this talk of RPG weapons has me thinking. I usually don't care what specific weapon types characters wield in an RPG, just so long as they pull it off. Xenogears, a classic, had not one, but five characters (inclulding our main character, Fei) who fight unarmed (well, to be specific, four that fight unarmed, and one that fights unarmed for 3/4 of the game), but I was perfectly satisfied with such a lack of cool weapons because their animations and fighting styles were awesome. What really matters in RPG character weapons is what they do with said weapons and how they look with said weapons; a great game can pull just about anything off.

Josh

As I've mentioned before, I love Xenogears for many reasons, and you've hit one of them on the head. The fact that Fei (and Senretsu just looks COOL), Citan, and Rico (please, who uses Maria or Chu-chu?) all fight bare-handed, yet have different styles of fighting...it was just really great in its execution. I also just wrote an editorial on this phenomenon, which should be up soon, and I hope that developers take this into account when designing weapon-based characters - they need to have believable stances to accompany their weapons, as well as movements that accommodate their styles! Anything less is unacceptable!

Neill, Bane of my Existence

Speaking of great games, Oblivion pulls off everything at once: bows, swords, axes, clubs, maces, staves, and even unarmed. You only think you were satisfied with only one choice...that obviously sucks, because everyone knows the max number of cool characters in one game that fight without weapons is 3.87, not 4.75, because at the time Oblivion wasn't out yet and the glorious plethora of weapons it contains had not even been concieved of yet.

"But Morrowind had more weapon types than Oblivion..."

Hold on a second.
*sound of steps trail into distance, and the distinct crunching of a neck snapping is heard*
Ok where were we? Oh yes, Oblivion is awesome.

And that being said, when do you think RPGs go too far with bizarre weapon designs? Like, something that no person in their right mind would actually bring into battle, or something so out of this world that it.... well, doesn't exist on Earth? Again, it really depends on how gracefully they attempt giving a character yo-yos or whistles or what have you as their primary weapon, but it isn't always so graceful.

To give some examples, allow me to direct your attention to two excellent RPGs: Skies of Arcadia and Tales of Symphonia. Fina, one of SoA's key playable characters, has a pet Cupil as her weapon of choice. Cupil is a floating amorphous blob that transforms into things like cannons, lances, and weights to attack your enemies. Cupil is one weird dude, but the satisfaction of seeing an anvil crash down on your enemies or have them sucked into a vacuum is satisfying and entertaining enough to make such a strange design work, and using Chams to customize exactly what Cupil transforms into is a nifty collection-quest. Now ToS, which is an awesome game, presents me with some problems. The Tales games have historically had a lot of strange weapons back in the day (brooms, vases, cards, whistles that summon squirrels, the list goes on), but one in ToS gets on my nerves: Genis's kendama, which is sort of like a Ball in a Cup toy ([insert Family Guy reference here]). I can not possibly understand such a strange weapon ever doing damage to anything, and for the annoyingness of the kendama was enough to keep Genis permanently out of my party whenever I had the option to do so.

So yeah, any kind of weapon can work in an RPG, but it really depends on the execution in combat when you're deciding if a weapon is cool or not, and also depending on execution the most bizarre RPG weapons can completely rock or utterly fail. So what's your take?

A loyal Q&A fan,
~Lazzie
Josh

Bizarre weapon designs? Well, I don't know about you, but Super Mario RPG had its fair share. Toadstool had her assortment of parasols, and Mario had his cache of destructive Koopa shells! Also, who could forget Rinoa's Limit Break - Angelo Cannon? Her dog, Angelo, jumps onto her arm, and she fires the poor unsuspecting pooch at the enemy, somehow causing a massive explosion! If exploding dogs aren't your idea of an impressive display of weapon ingenuity, then I can't help you, my friend.

But seriously, if the game has a general tone of goofiness to it, I say, "Why not?" If, however, the game is completely devoid of humor, and a party member enters the fray armed with a spork...then I'm going to think it's a bad idea. It's all about immersion!



It's a good thing I know where he sleeps, because he won't be waking up.


Hey Q&A,

What do think of the chances of getting the original Japanese dub on the FFXII US release? Nippon Ichi does that with their games, so it's possible, if unlikely. Or how about the theme songs? FFX-2 brought over the songs, rewritten, which worked out for the better due to the lack of a Japanese audio track.

--
Andy

Josh

Well, Final Fantasy X didn't do it, so I don't expect FFXII to. Sure, it would be nice (for all of you who actually enjoy READING voice-acting), but I can't say that I'd miss it. Now, theme songs...I WOULD appreciate having the music from the Japanese version, mostly because it's harder to translate words from music rather than just conversation, as you have to take into account the time and rhyme of the music. This sometimes leads to a loss of meaning behind the song, and regardless of whether you understand it or not, it could also mean that the song fails to flow. For instance, I think Passion is vastly superior to Sanctuary from Kingdom Hearts II, even though they are essentially the same song, just different language. Keep your fingers crossed.

Neill, Denizen of the Tenth Circle of Hell

You know what game didn't need to be released in its 'original Japanese dub?' Oblivion.



Ok, this is never happening again. My sincerest apologies.


Hum....hot dog do I have a question!? Ya see, i played Xenogears because its stinkin awesome, however, i also played Xenosaga when it came out due to the fact it was supposed to be a prequel etc. I guess what I am trying to say is, the game just did not really interest me. Since i thought the first one was boring, when Xenosaga II came out i just read the script...in my opinion reading the script/playing the game is pretty well the same from my first Xenosaga experience. It wasn't that interesting either... but i guess what i want to know is, is Xenosaga III going to tie in somehow with Xenogears? I mean, there were supposed to be six entries, Xenogears being the fifth. Not to mention i lost my original copy, so i bought a greatest hits copy of Xenogears and at the end it said episode V. If it did tie in somehow....maybe I would play through all three of them. Oh yeah...one final question! Since Square-Enix is remaking FFIII-VI and potentially VII not to mention all the crazy spin-offs, why do you think they wont go ahead and cash in on a Chrono sequel? Sure Chrono Cross was crap, but they have such an awesome story to build on there. I mean are they afraid they'll just piss off their Chrono fanbase a little more? lol i highly doubt it, they made FFX-2 *sighs* ...guess I'm going to stop talking because I'm sure i could go on forever... but lol thanks for listening!!

Josh

Mmm...hot dogs. Er...what? Sorry.

First thing's first. The original release of Xenogears also said "Episode V" after the credits.

I too was disappointed with the overall Xenosaga experience. After how incredible Xenogears managed to be, it's sad the Ep. I was nothing more than a glorified movie. And while Xenosga II fixed a lot of the issues from the first game, it brought its own share of problems, such as the lack of character identity in battle (skills could be assigned to everyone who wanted 'em) and the fact that E.S. battles were still...lame. Honestly, why can't they make the battles as interesting as the Gear fights in XS? Square knew what they were doing, and Monolithsoft doesn't seem to get it. But luckily (or sadly, depending on your view), Xenosaga III will wrap up the series, probably due to poor sales of the first two episodes, so...we can HOPEFULLY see a graceful conclusion to what seems to be a severely confused series.

Chrono Break was announced yesterday! Didn't you catch the RSS feed?
*runs
Chrono Trigger and Cross are definitely lesser-known than their Final Fantasy counterparts, mostly because quite a few fanboys showed up around FFVII, 2 years after Chrono Trigger was released. As much as many of us would like to see a sequel, it probably won't happen. Sorry, guys, I'm with you 100% on getting a new one, though.

Neill, Eater of Souls

Obviously it didn't interest you, why would it? It's not Oblivion. If it were Oblivion it would have kicked major ass and there would be no running in between cinematics in a vain effort to trigger the next plot point. Oblivion is so awesome it barely even has cinematics.



Sigh.


Hi,

At the moment, my wish list contains one item, a better sequel to Final Fantasy X. I know the probability of this is zero but I just wasn't happy with Final Fantasy X-2. It seemed like Yuna aged backwards in terms of maturity. Some people say that she is just loosening up because she's not a summoner anymore but to me it feels like her whole personality changed. Anyway...enough of me ranting about how I strongly dislike FFX-2.

My weird videogame memory is this: I was playing Mario Kart 64 with my brother and suddenly my parakeet was flying up to us (which is bad, given that we have cats). Someone had left the door to her cage open...but we caught her eventually. Also, when my brother was little, I remember him getting so frusterated at Star Fox 64 that he would throw his controller on the ground. (Gee maybe that's why our N64 controllers are so dilapitated...) I'm going out for ice cream so I gotta go!

Anna

Josh

Her whole personality changed, as well as her voice acting! It somehow got better! But FFX-2 wasn't all bad. In fact, I loved the battle system...it was fast-paced, and provided enough variety in tactics that could keep you busy messing around with it for hours. Sure, the game was incredibly easy, and filled with enough girl giggling to make any man vomit his spleen on the cat, but it was worth a playthrough.

That probably wasn't what caused your N64 controller to crap out. Those things were the most poorly designed things EVER, both structurally and in its design. 3 prongs? What third hand am I going to use to adapt to that?

Neill, The Snake to my Mongoose...or The Mongoose to my Snake. Either way, it's bad.

If you want a good sequel to Final Fantasy X, why don't you just play Oblivion? One of the many things that makes it such a great sequel is that it's not a long, interactive J-pop music video. Unfortunately, Oblivion does not support ice cream, but it's still awesome.



QUICKIES


Is there a way that you can make an absorbtion spell in RPG XP?

Yes. No. Why, what have you heard? Did he put you up to this? Show me on this doll where it touched you! It's ok, no one has to know, we can keep this between you...and me.



C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Man, I knew that was a bad idea, but I just went on and did it. :P

That's right, I control the horizontal, I control the vertical. You just have to...read. Please, come back! I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry. *sob

Anyway, maybe I'll be back next weekend, maybe I won't. I honestly have no idea. I go where the RPGamer Temp Agency sends me. But, feel free to complain to Matt about my eventual departure! He's up tomorrow, so give him plenty to talk about! Have a good one!


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh may be minus one (1) roommate by tomorrow.


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Hehehe...that was certainly interesting.

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