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Column 7: Holiday Weekend, Day 1
September 1st, 2007

Sean - 9:48am EDT

My week was quiet and had very little gaming involved. I did finish Brave Story, but didn't do any of the bonus dungeons. I decided to try a new game. I picked up Metroid Prime 3 and am suitably impressed. My wrist hurts when I play it, and I need to wait for the batteries to charge.

My copy of Lair came in yesterday, but I decided not to pick it up. The reviews didn't look any good. Has anyone given it a try yet?

I picked up a few books at the local Chapters today. They were having some sort of a mystery rebate event, and I couldn't resist. I bought something by Peter David, some Fox Trot books, some Pearls Before Swine books, as well as some other stuff. Mostly new authors, and I'll let you all know how they turn out. Meanwhile, I am still slogging through "A Game of Thrones". It is pretty good so far.

I unearthed a ton of letters today, so I should be ok for the weekend. I am sorry for stealing some of Matt's letters, but that is life. I hope you all have a nice weekend and enjoy reading the column!

A peek into the life of a Quebec RPGamer

Heya Sean, how's it going?


I'm always tired lately. I need more sleep. I need to discipline myself to get more of it. I know--I am weak!

So I read in your last column that you're training your cousins to play video that is sweet! I've never really had the opportunity to do that with mine, but I am just SO looking forward to when my niece is old enough for me to teach her all sorts of cool stuff; like playing videos games and playing volleyball. Still have to wait a couple years though, she's only 1 year old at the moment...oh well.


Yep. They were on Wii training until one tossed a Wiimote at my tv (and missed). Now it is just old GC stuff.

So, on to a HoT ToPiC! Hm, about being forced to preorder games on the first day, well, I guess the way I feel about it depends on the reason "why" I'm being forced to do it. As you mentioned, it happens in Quebec for pretty much every Atlus game. This situation is kind of annoying, because it happens for the following reason: since the official language here in Quebec is French, game developers have to include a French booklet with their games in order for them to get some shelf-space in a store. I've always found this kinda stupid and silly, because the game ITSELF is still gonna be in English, so who the heck cares if it has a French booklet? I always just throw it away as soon as I open up the game anyway. So, since Atlus doesn't print out French booklets, their games get snobbed... However, if the "being forced to preorder" situation is different, such as "the game is so uber-hyped and is gonna sell like mad", I'm not really bothered that I'd need to preorder it. I actually tend to preorder games anyway. If I'm around the store anyway a while before the release date I just go ahead and pay for it right then and there. That way they'll call me when they get it and I'll just have to go over there and pick it up. On a sidenote Sean: ever been to a Gamebuzz? You can find so hard-to-find games there. I missed my chance to get a copy of Etrian Odyssey in an EB and I found one easily at a Gamebuzz. ^.^


I was at the one in the Eaton Center a few months ago. They have a surprising collection of RPGs (even Atlus ones), but with the typical flaw of such stores. They are very expensive. I think Matt must have seen Lunar in one of those stores...

About Suikoden V, since you were wondering last time: no, your battle party dosn't get split into pairs and no, you don't get stuck on a boat. Battles have six party members aligned along the classic Suikoden formation: 3 in the front and 3 in the back. However, you can get different formations as you progress in the game that will change how your characters are positioned (ie: one in the front, two behind him, one behind those two and two more in the back...I'm just throwing this out, I haven't played in a while and I don't remember what the other formations actually are hehe) and confer upon them certain stat bonuses. Which was a really cool addition to the game IMO. World map is also classic Suiko-style, unlike III which was just point-and-click your destination...


Those are some interesting points to take into consideration. I like world maps a bit too much.

And on a final note, I'd like to chime in on the sexy characters topic that's been running around. So far, I'd have to say that the female character that I've considered the sexiest in an RPG has to be Kisala from Rogue Galaxy. Her outfits are super-sexy but in a non-trashy way and her breasts aren't exagerated, unlike the normal "sexy" girl in a game, which has her boobs pointing to the sky. Plus, Kisala kicks and uses daggers: she's kinda like a ninja! Awesome! Anyway, that's it from me for today, have a good one Sean. ;)



I have yet to play that particular game, but I will eventually. I might get more time soon, as my LOTRO playing buddy is expecting his first child this week. For the next while I expect him to leave me to my single player games.

Thanks for writing in Seb. It was much appreciated. And sorry for not being able to answer this one last week.

Author suggestions

Hey there Sean.

Itís me, the one youíve dubbed as Sean 2. Iíll begrudgingly accept the title, I guess.


I remove that title Shawn. Sean 2 will be saved for someone else.

Anyways, you asked a question in your hot topics that I pretty much have to answer. What fantasy author do I recommend, and what fantasy series would I like to see as a game?

Two major things come to mind.

1. The Belgariad/The Mallorean by David Eddings. Wonderful group of books! While the story is predictable in many ways, the characters really drive it to greatness. Being able to play Silk sneaking through town or playing as CeNedra leading a huge army against all odds would be wonderful.

2. The Xanth series by Piers Anthony. Itís a wonderfully fun little world, filled to the brim with puns. And its game potential (not counting the Companions game that was made) is quite limitless. For those that donít know, everyone in the land of Xanth has their own special magic ability that only they can do. Kind of like a mystical finger print. Imagine the characters you could play/meet.


I was thinking about this a while too. Most series I have read are suitable. I never read any of these authors. If I could only read one book to sample their writing, which one should I grab? It needs to be a standalone, or a part one.

That second one speaks to my soul just like Heroes does. It comes back on the 24th! Yay!

Any who, those are my recommendations/thoughts on the matter. If anyone takes up either series though, do be warned that they are long. The Belgariad and The Mallorean are 5 books each and the Xanth series is still ongoing and currently around 30 novels.

Until next I write in;

-Shawn "Sean 2"


I wouldn't start a 30 book series without a really good reason. Robert Jordan's dozenish scare me off for the same reason. Oh, and just so you know, I am an avid reader of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms.

Thanks for the somewhat late advice, Shawn. Looks like they might be picked up on my next major book shopping spree. Thanks for writing in too!

Young heroes... deja vu?

S'Going on. I have always been a true fan of RPGs growing from the frist NES Dragon Warrior till presently Rogue Galaxy and beating Brave Story. My quarrel I have with every game maker is that im getting sick of always seeing 12 year old characters in games getting put into a story, getting magical spells, defeating dragons. Sure, when I was 12 it seemed like a great idea, but now being in my 20's I would love to see more young adults-adults, being the lead roles in games. Auron? Khimari? FF8? All fantastic characters. I think what saved Brave Story to me was a Giant Lizard, a Spear weilding Elf, a leader of a whole Highlanders clan, Meladee...great characters I could get into. Get rid of the big bug eyed toons and put some puberty into upcoming game characters! How do you feel?


I agree with you there. I don't much like games with young kids being ultra powerful (hitting for 9999!) way before they have the experience to be so. The kid from Brave Story is very young, and I didn't much like him. The rest of the cast is what made the game great. Meladee was awesome.

The occasional young character is ok in my books (like say... Eiko from FFIX), but they are way too common to be interesting. In fact when looking for books in Chapters today I purposefully asked for recommendations that don't contain such hereoes. When I was twelve I was content to play PC games--Saving the world never crossed my mind. Thanks for writing in!

Another vote is tallied

Dear Sean

Suikoden 5 is an excellent game. Highly recommend it. Just don't use the Brady Game Strategy guide as there is one star of destiny that if you follow the guide is off on a few star of destiny getting info otherwise its not quite the


Not quite the... what? Sorry, I had to ask! I don't have the guide and I wouldn't use one anyways. If I did use one for Suikoden 5, it would be one with just a list of the stars and when I would need to get them. I don't like missing them and I don't intend to do more than one playthrough at this point. Maybe later, but not now.

What is it about strategy games that so turn you off from that particular genre. I've personally been in love with the genre since I played my first one which back in the day was old Warcraft 2 (played before warcraft 1) then followed by FFT. Since then I think I've played just about every particular Strategy game both RTS and SRPG. Some of them are the absolute gems of my collection some I wish I buried in a heap and set aflame.


I have the same issues with RTS games as I do with s/tRPGs. It takes a specific graphical style, background story and, most importantly, gameplay to hook me. If a game feels flat, it won't interest me. If I don't like the units, it gets canned. If the character customization sucks, I won't give it a second look.

I could get into Warcraft, but other RTS games just don't do it. I've tried a ton of them, but I never really finished any except for Warcraft, Dragonshard and StarCraft. As for sRPGs... I can't stand most of them since I simply find them boring. I dislike the lengthy leveling needed in NIS games, the really extended battles and the often overcomplicated systems behind everything. A strategy RPG needs to overcome these issues quickly, or I lose interest. That is the primary reason why I don't pick up games from developers that have already failed me. I did pick up Dungeons and Dragons Tactics, as well as Jeanne d'Arc, so we will see what happens with them.

Do you ever have trouble completing games? Sometimes it takes a lot of effort for me to really sit down and complete a game. One reason is that although you get the sense of accomplishment once I am finished I'm never sure what to play or do next. Sometimes its really easy like when I beat the PSP version of FF1 I had beaten it on NES, PS1, WSC, and GBA so it was really easy for me to go play something else. But sometimes, especially when I'm REALLY into a game like I was with the first Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney I was kind of let down with not knowing what else to play.


Yes, I do. I tend to just sell off the games that piss me off, but usually only after finishing them. I need to give them a chance to improve their image before I toss them out (and then later they get too close to the end to give up at that point). I always have that sense of gamer's limbo when I finish a game. Why do you think I have a poll on the side of the page?

However my biggest problem is narcolepsy. I often end up falling asleep while playing and unless the game is super engrossing I have a really hard time staying awake long enough to get far and have to often take naps. Riviera, awesome game, but always doing practice battles often puts me to sleep since all I'm trying to do is skill up. Its frustrating a lot especially for my love of SRPG where its mostly mental power that wins a battle and not much real strategy.

Anyways take care

The Anime Man


I fell asleep the other night while playing Brave Story. It was late and I guess I was tired. I was in the last level at the time, by the way. Thanks for writing in!

How to piss off monsters

Hey Sean,

Just thought I'd send a letter after seeing how fascinated you are with Brave story. So far, I'm having a blast with the game, though trying to figure out the system for crazing certain monsters for rare materials is incredibly frustrating!!! Do I need to boost myself, wait four turns, poison them, or just hit them!!! Other then that, loving the game.


Well, once you beat the game you will get a listing of what to do to all of them. Some of them require being knocked to somewhere close to death, some need to be hit by certain skills, some need to be left alive for a while, etc. There is always a %-chance of them getting pissed off whenever you hit the trigger, so it makes it a bit more difficult.

Anyways, here's my question for you. Since you love the game so much, have you considered reading the book, that was released recently in the States, that the game is based on? I just finished it and it was vaguely reminiscent of Narnia, and almost as good!!!

If you can get your hands on it, I'd recommend the book. I know Barnes and Noble carries it in the Fantasy section if you are interested.


Yes! I just didn't find it in the local stores. I won't look for it another time, as I have moved on. We don't have that chain up here in Canada.

As far as a fantasy series I'd a game based off, hmm...well, there's is Raymond E. Feist. A computer game was made called Betrayal of Krondor and that was a blast, so another game based on his fantastic series would be a real treat. Other then that, an SRPG based off King Aurthur or Robin hood would be great! The recent Jeanne D. Arc for the psp showed that historic/fantastical games can be made just fine.

Right, that's about it. Thanks for taking the time to read my letter.



Anytime, Rain, anytime. I saw that game years ago, but never had a chance to play it. Weren't there three Krondor games? I am a littl skeptical about sRPGs in general... so... Not too interested in those choices! What about a Mario sRPG?

Even though Carabbit is a bad, bad, bad person (for using a Wait Mode in SOCK 2.0 right before Matt's holiday), I have to agree with the Suikoden V vote. But, because of my intense hatred of Wait Modes, I feel compelled to contradict Carabbit. So, Iwould also suggest that it might depend on what sort of experience you're looking for, and how long you want your list to stay static. Y'see, Suikoden V takes a LONG time, and unless you're an FAQer, it's almost impossible that you'll collect all the stars the first time around. Doing so in a second playthrough might not take as long, but it would take some time. But that's only if that's something you'd be likely to do.

Take all that into account, and if you want to save Suikoden V for later, go with Odin Sphere.


My first playthrough of Suikoden 4 saw me with 102 or 105ish of the stars, without using a guide. I'll see how well I do in this one. Anyways, thanks for the vote. I will split it between your two choices!


During the course of the adventure in Phantasy Star 3, Wren, a character obtained early on, eventually will transform into a submarine, aquaskimmer, and aerojet.
How do the four other characters in your party fit into the vehicle Wren transforms into? Presumably Wren is about the same size as the others.

As an android, it is likely that in the future she gets some nice attachments that increase her bulk to the point where she can get big enough to fit the others. Or... she just uses some magic or something to do so. Also, I never did finish this one. I lost the cartridge... ^^;

Out of curiosity, I've been watching some trailers for the Penny Arcade game, and by all accounts, it looks like it's an RPG to me. Take a look Do you think so too? If so, should RPGamer cover it?

An action RPG. I love that comic. I think that we are covering this game? At least there was some discussion about it. Thanks for pointing it out!


Well that is it for me today. I need to clean the house, as we have a family get together tomorrow for my dad's birthday (also why the columns will be going up early). I think I will need to schedule in viewings of Stardust (giving Neil Gaiman a chance!) and possibly Balls of Fury. Does anyone else see this movie as hilarious?

Tonight I foresee seeing something on Blu Ray while possibly playing Etrian Odyssey. I played until the third Stratum last night too. I forgot about it completely.

Let's do a newish hot topic... Does anyone know a main character that was overshadowed by a supporting character? My first example would be Citan in Xenogears. He is far more powerful, and cooler, than Fei!

Anyways, I have plenty of letters for the rest of the weekend. This is a nice feeling. Please feel free to send some more!

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Unanswered Letter Backlog: enough
Sean is wishing he didn't need to sleep

"Shut up and Drive!"

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Now Obsessed With:

Dungeons and Dragons Tactics
Etrian Odyssey
Lord of the Rings Online
A Game of Throne (a book!)

Hot Topics:

1. What do you think about being forced to preorder games to either get them on the first day, or at all (like here in Quebec for Atlus games)?
2. Like Brave Story? I want to hear about your experiences?
3. Recommend a fantasy author. Whose work would you like to see in game form?
4. Two Swords--Is it worth the admission price to play it?
5. Know any main heroes that shouldn't have the role?

Which game is next?

1. Guild Wars: Nightfall
2. Suikoden 5 (4.5 votes)
3. Wild Arms 4
4. Untold Legends (PS3)
5. Tales of Legendia
6. Odin Sphere (1.5 vote)
7. Tomb Raider Anniversary
8. Sly Cooper 2: Band of Thieves
9. Devil May Cry 2
10. Mega Man Battle Transmission

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