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The Good and Bad November 27th, 2006

Roku - 15:27 PST

As you have no doubt guessed by now, I'm filling in for Ouro today. Unlike the times I usually fill in, this is only a one-day-thing this time, though. There isn't a whole lot to say here since I've been just going through a lot of paperwork and coding since I got back from vacation, so...let's get to the letters, shall we?

Death and Tactics

Those of you who are feeling apprehensive about FFXII's story. You are not far enough into the game. There are some revelations about the characters coming. They're not huge, but they're there. I will say that I somewhat enjoy the minimalist narrative, however. I get a sense that these characters are just normal people caught up in a bigger conspiracy rather than superhuman world-savers that we've been used to in RPG's past.

Also, I feel that Square-Enix is dealing with a double-edged sword brought on by the fans. Fans whined about the too large cast of Final Fantasy Tactics. They whined about the over-developed plots of other RPGs that include scenarios that don't have much to do with anything (I personally feel that FFVII would have been so much better without Weapon). So they scaled back the characters and the plot. I feel that what is there, however, is better written and acted than any other RPG out there. And sometimes, it's better to leave some things to the imagination rather than just add some cliched character device for the sake of exposition. We know Vaan and Penelo are orphans of the war. We don't need an overlong flashback showing how their entire families were killed. Square gave us just enough with Reks and the rest of the game seems to follow suit.

With all these praises, however, I still say that FFX is my favorite. Its polish outshines its flaws, and I feel less lost. Personally, I feel better guided along the path. In FFXII, I have this constant nagging feeling that I'm missing something as open as the world is.


Hmm, I don't recall hearing many people complain about the size of the cast in Final Fantasy Tactics. Well, unless you mean the complaint about there barely being enough room in the party to fit the story characters in. I'm not far enough in to FFXII to comment on that, but perhaps it will spur a response from another one of our readers?

Fantasy Marathon

Hey Guys!

So I got a question for you all! Raise your hand if you've played and beaten every single Final Fantasy game to date?

And by that I mean all the official (truly named) North American releases, not emulator or whathaveyou. I know I haven't.

For the Record:

FFI --NES/PSone (FFOrigins)/GBA (Dawn of Souls)
FFII--PSone (FFOrigins)/GBA (Dawn of Souls)
FFMystic Quest--SNES
FFIV--PSone (FFChronicles)/GBA (Advance)
FFV--PSone (FFAnthology)/GBA (Advance)
FFVI--PSone(FFAnthology)/GBA (Advance--Coming Soon!)
FFVII Compilation: Before Crisis (Phone)/Dirge of Cerberus (PS2)

In any case, I won't fault you if you haven't played the likes of Chocobo Racing or Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon or Ehrgeiz, but at least being able to play and beat all the Roman Numerals is quite an achievment...especially if you pull it off in order!

Lastly, a while ago someone asked me if the Final Fantasies were in any way related at all? Well, here's my answer:

Oh...and P.S.




Well, I haven't beaten all of those, but I'm getting close. FFV I've had very bad luck with. I've lost my save file and had to start over twice, and I'm lacking the motivation to go through the first 20 hours or so again right now. FF Crystal Chronicles I recently picked up, but I haven't had a chance to go through it yet. FFXI has no ending, but I've put in more time than it takes to beat any other FF game, so I'd say it more or less counts. I'd rather not go back in any case. FFXII I've been too busy to play much of, so I'm only a few hours in. Finally, I lack the phone to play Before Crisis and, for some reason, Dirge of Cerberus doesn't interest me right now. I guess I'm missing a bit more than I thought, but I'm also pretty far along.



Another comment on the Wii controller--Although the motion sensing is cool, I think the real pragmatic application in terms of RPGs is the light-gun-style pointer aspect of the controller. I can envision tons of cool Mario-RPG-style timing action by "shooting" a certain mark at a certain time, in addition to easier menu navigation and Nintendo-DS style movement. Also, using the DS as a controller seems like an ideal way to play Wii RPGs as well since they can pop a keyboard or otherwise dynamic control data on the bottom screen but without the limiting factors of the DS hardware capabilities. I would be excited by all these fun ways to utilize this previously-engaging system, but after today I'm not really too interested anymore.

I had somewhat of a mini-revalation today. I was waiting in a 30-person line for EB games only to have them give tickets to the first 5 people (I was number 12 or so) and break the hearts of the remaining 25. I realized that I have completely lost interest in the Wii simply because of the difficulty I've had trying to obtain one. I've heard people say that when you have to overcome seemingly hellish circumstances to obtain something, you appreciate it that much more in the end, and I'm not disputing that claim. My issue is that I've now been through 2 really aggrivating lack-of-Wii-acquisition experiences, and it's just soured the feeling of the console. When I think about the Wii, the motion-sensing frenzy no longer comes to mind. I think of hitting Refresh for 6.5 hours only to never even see the purchase button, just a "Unavailable" to "Sold Out" between minute-refreshes. Now I think of the little douchebag whose dad was literally linebacker-charging through the mall at 4 a.m. to spoil his ugly little demon.

Is this typical? Back before I switched my major from psych to business/communications, I remember learning about classical conditioning and I think I'm a victim of negative Wii classical conditioning. Has this happened to any of the other have-nots thus far? I'm gonna have to get one as a gift or just wait til they're as commonplace as virgins playing WoW, because I don't even have the desire to try and track one down anymore. I'd rather think happy thoughts about my girlfriend--even our nastiest fights can't outweigh the happy memories....then again if I had to hit refresh on her every minute to no avail I'd think differently... Keep doin your collumn thing--first time I've read it regularly since Thor Antrim used to completely regulate RPGamer. Hope he's doin alright these days...and that he's cut that damn Fabio hair.

-Dan, Doby G, Swerd Murderous, any other nicknames I'm forgetting


It's been a while since I've had a psych class, but I believe that you're correct (or reasonably correct) as far as negative conditioning goes. The Wii does seem to have a stronger launch than most systems, (Zelda, Virtual Console, etc.) but in my humble opinion, I think it's best to wait a bit if you're having that much trouble getting one. You'll at least be saving yourself a headache or two.

A rose by any other name...

Hi Roku,

I had an interesting experience the other night I wanted to share with y'all. I went out on a date with this guy -- no big deal, but I was enjoying myself. We're about halfway through dinner when it comes out that he goes by his middle name, and his given name is Marcelo. After which the only thing I can think for the rest of the night is how frustratingly egotistical he is and how bitter I was that I couldn't finish him off after the battle at Neos. Not his fault of course!

Have you ever had an unjustifiable prejudice towards someone because they share a name or similar habits with an RPG character? Or am I the only one just a little too attached to the games I love?


Roku Similar certain cases. Er, though those are a lot more justifiable given what the habits were, I suppose. I wouldn't say that you're a bit too attached though. It's human nature to try to fill in the blanks, though best not to since it's not really fair to the other person.

And of course, one from JuMeSyn

Guten tag, Herr Roku! Wie geht es fuer dich?

A quick note about the retail situation; some people despise Mondays, but since I have today off and my father is treating me to Casino Royale, I feel pretty damn good about Monday. And I appreciate your shopping online... if only so many others would emulate you. It took only one crabby bitch to make a significant stretch of yesterday unpleasant. Now then - you're learning Japanese in a classroom environment, correct?


Correct, though I'm studying other stuff on the side too. I'm also working through a game I imported a few years ago (Breath of Fire III) but it's going very slowly.

Would you feel good about taking it out for use in the field, so to speak?


Not at this point, no. I have a lot more to learn before I'll be especially useful there. Maybe in another year or two.

How far along are you?


I'm in my second year.

Probably shouldn't be in Q&A but what the hell - did you get the 'different' SMRPG review I sent in a few days ago?


Yes, though I was away for most of the weekend, so I have a lot to catch up on before I can start working on future review updates. And I'm filling in for Q&A ^^.

I asked this of Matt (very brief answer) and Josh (somewhat lengthier) so I'll now ask it of you. Can you annotate all your Sega system experience for me?


All of it ^^;;? Sure, I suppose there's time. My first experience was brief when trying to decide which next gen system to get between the SNES, the Genesis, and another system which was probably the TurboGrafx. I ultimately made the (what turned out to be excellent) decision to go with the SNES, but a lot of my friends had a Genesis, so I was still able to play fairly often. I later got one for my birthday along with a Sonic or two. Sonic was about the only thing I used it for at first, but I later picked up a bunch of random used games. My experiences with the Game Gear and Nomad were minimal because they used an absurd amount of power and hurt my eyes. I saved up for a Saturn a bit later, but the price was so high that I gave up and bought some of the games for the PC and rented the rest that I was interested in along with the system. Lack of funds was also an issue with the Dreamcast. By the time I was able to afford it, it was already pretty much dead. I'd love to get one these days, but the Wii just came out... I think you get the idea. Luckily, the Wii will also allow me to play a lot of the games that I missed out on.

Leave it to me to uncover ANOTHER game I have interest in with no RPGamer coverage. This time it's Arcana Strikes, a 1997 title for the Saturn done by Red, makers of my newest love in the RPG world, Sakura Wars. I'm a little leery of trusting one GameFAQs review, but it seems to be a card-combat title with the same appeal as Pokemon in that there are a whole lot of cards to collect representing spells. Can you come up with more information?


Actually, now that you mention it, I have heard of that. For some reason I thought it was for the SNES though.

Actually, here's another one, although rather less obscure. Langrisser: Dramatic Edition is a redone version of Langrissers 1 and 2 on the Saturn. Graphics are spruced up a bit (Langrisser is not about looking good, though), music gets the CD treatment, voice acting inserted, plots retouched a fair amount. Or so I gather. What say you? Worthy of classification?


Sure. I'll poke our content team about it.

I'm bidding on eBay, so in good time I'll get to the thing. My incredible ability to spend 96 hours on the Saturn Grandia and only be arriving at what I THINK is the final battle now makes me ask - what title have you spent the most time on (non-tactical)? And was it in the positive or negative sense (if these are separate answers, details please!)


If you mean in a single playthrough, I'd say the more recent Dragon Warrior/Quests win there. Possibly a more recent run of FF7 where I wasted a lot of time trying to get a lot of powerful Materia. Both were mostly positive. I also recently spent an absurd amount of time on Disgaea 2, making a character for every staff member, but that's tactical.

I noted that in Japan the Virtual Console has extra titles, among them Fire Emblem: Monshou no Naze. Think there's any chance that titles like these can be downloaded (translation or no) for the greater world market?


I hope so, though I've heard rumor that we won't. =/

Actually, here's another semi-obscure title you may know (or be able to unearth information about via your undisclosed sources) to recommend or not: Soul Hackers: Devil Summoner in the Shin Megami Tensei series. A fairly good write-up on Hardcore Gamer made me curious, and since the PS version is essentially the same thing as the Saturn I might as well get the Saturn when it goes for sub-$5 prices on eBay. Or, y'know, you could talk about everything you know regarding Shin Megami Tensei titles, since I haven't tackled one yet?


Sorry, I'm not exactly new to the SMT series, but there are an awful lot that I have yet to play, and that's one of them.

Ergh - and why not ask you about Black/Matrix. This is the last one though - I think. It's a tactical-type entry on the Saturn, ported to the Dreamcast with some minor enhancements. My understanding is that it would have been a tough one to port thanks to an incredibly violent plot. Do you have a recommendation, or would it require copious amounts of work?


Hmm, well, it certainly looks interesting. I'm a bit surprised that it's supposed to be violent given how cute some of the artwork is. I don't really know what to say ^^;;

This one truly IS the last one. Lunar: Magical School. I don't think it needs an intro, so would you seek it out devotedly, snap it up under a certain price, or leave it alone in the corner? Justify, please!


Sure, I'd love to play it, just to see what it's like. The rest of the series has interested me enough to justify that, I'd say.

I've moved beyond JUST talking about the super-obscure stuff lately, though. Give me your picks for the movie(s) you feel most deserving of a QUALITY RPG treatment, and possibly the ones you would run screaming from rather than have to face.


I spend my money on games, not movies ^^;; Still, if we're talking full-length RPGs, it'd have to either be a series or have a really detailed storyline. Otherwise you're going to get an awful lot of filler, and that's just not as much fun in most cases.

My GBA-SP recently stopped recharging. I THINK I can survive the four and a half weeks until Xmas to see if someone gives me a DS, but would you recommend bowing to the pressure and getting one immediately? The odds of actually being given one are pretty slim given my family's disinclination to support my gaming desires....


Well, I've seen some really good deals on them recently if you don't think you can wait. Otherwise, that's only a few weeks off. That said, I haven't regretted getting a DS one bit, and I usually regret spending that kind of money.

And - I think, since Sonic is the same age Mario was when HE first jumped into RPGs, the time is ripe for a Sonic RPG. What say you on this subject? We're done! JuMeSyn


I'd love to see a Sonic RPG.


Whelp, that's it for now. My stay was very brief this time, but I hope you enjoyed it. Anyway, things return to normal tomorrow, so just pick up where they left off I suppose ^^.
Roku will maybe return in Winter...

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Phew...I need to fill in more often so I don't feel so rusty every time I do this ^^;;


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