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ASK SEAN
Column 8: Holiday Weekend, Day 2
September 2nd, 2007

Sean - 9:49am EDT

Well, my plans to play Metroid Prime 3 fell through. An altercation with Yu-Gi-Oh GX and Chaotic led me to turn on Overlord so I could "watch" them while playing. Twelve hours later and I was still playing. Overlord is fun, but there are times I think it is just too devious. I stopped last night when my entire army of minions were eaten by a sand worm. That was so not cool. I am running out of minions. I might need to pick some more up next time I play. I think I am close to the end.

Today my dad turns 55 and we will be having a family party. Yay. Please excuse the short column-- I have a party to prepare for, and attend.

Let's get to the letters!




LETTERS
A word with JuMeSyn...


Here we go again, Sean. Ready for some more scintillating stuff?

Sean

Hello there, JuMeSyn. I hope I am.

Yep, seems like you're not much of a tactical aficianado. This means quite a few of the titles I know pretty well hold no interest for you. Shining Force, Fire Emblem, Dragon Force, FEDA, Super Robot Taisen, Sakura Wars, Langrisser, and all the stuff I'm not going to list ad nauseum; yours is not the viewpoint that would derive enjoyment from my encapsulation of the goodness they are. Guess I'll have to think of other games that you might enjoy because, of course, talking about stuff everyone has played is something everyone can do while talking about games no one else here has played is something only I can do.

Sean

Talk away, man. It is not just about me here. Who knows? Yours words may inspire someone else to explore some older games.

So there's a Naruto RPG coming to the US, eh? It COULD be good. Unfortunately we run into the roadblock of the Oro being too good to ever realistically be downed by Naruto; if the Oro's eminence is respected it may be respectable. Extensive discussion of Naruto should be postponed until you either desire it or there is a groundwell of support for such a thing. And insofar as anime/manga are adapted or have the potential for adaptation into RPG material, I feel a bit of discussion upon the general topic is not irredeemably off-topic for Q&A.

Sean

I like Naruto a little too much--Except the filler crap. The problem with any Naruto games is that they can't really ever beat the bad guys, especially while the manga and anime are still ongoing. From what I have seen, the games tie in with the other media.

Have there been any RPGs that prompted you to listen to their music, or do you invariably have something else to distract your auditory sensation? I usually do listen to the in-game music (flabbergasting I know) but have been known to boot up iTunes if what I hear is bad/boring enough. I never have the TV on though, as my ability to concentrate upon two things at once is lacking. What I'd give for chameleon-eyes that can see in two directions simultaneously....

Sean

It is just the background noise, really. It helps drown out other people. I do listen to the music when I can. I liked the FFXI mission music and I played Brave Story with volume for about 95% of the time. And I refuse to play FFVIA without the volume on.

Does the conception of Sigma Star Saga intrigue you? On the very strong probability that you have not played it, 'twas the GBA title that melded the space shooter with an RPG. Not entirely successfully thanks to an annoyingly repetitive random battle usage, but the end-of-stage segments make most of the repetition more worthwhile. Reflexes are a must.

Sean

It was in my hands a good dozen times, but I can't convince myself to buy it. A friend did buy it, so I might eventually get a chance to try it, but it is really low on my priority list.

How about Guardian Heroes, our good Treasure-developed RPG/beat-em-up on the Saturn? Naturally how well you view this title's potential is derived partly from your feelings about the beat-em-up, so let fly.

Sean

I liked beat-em-ups as a kid. I never played that one, or any Saturn games at all. I do like Gunstar Heroes...

I would mention Sword of Vermilion here as something that is definitely different... but it sucks. You are, of course, welcome to take it for a spin on the VC. And I will laugh at all the discomfiture that results. Precisely WHY it sucks is well-enumerated in my review of it. Which I think you should read: http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/genesis/swordofvermilion/reviews/swordofvermilionrdrev1.html.

Enough of that stuff for now. Does gorne@rpgamer work for you yet? I'm kinda curious how long it takes to activate a new mail account for the site.

Mmkay. Barring an acute need for input from you this will be my one contribution for the weekend. Vandal Hearts will be my next title - the Saturn version in Japanese. I'm just that crazy, man!

JuMeSyn

Sean

I actually think I bought that one. I am too lazy to check though. If I did, I was not impressed with it, or I would remember I have it. ^_^

My email address does work now. It actually worked the very first day (it got fixed an hour after the column went up).

Let's say I do get a Saturn. A US console. Which games should I get for it, if money is no object? You should have a feel for what my tastes are by now.



Another fan of FFIX. I should give her something.


Dear Matt

I've been on my annual play-through of FFIX and I must say, Terra/Bran Bal must be one of the most beautiful places in an RPG. Its blue light everywhere, strange structured buildings that kinda look like under-water plants (Don't you think?) and the music is truely fanstasic. So beautiful yet knida sad which fits the place very well. I could stay in that place all day and never get bored of it! So here's my question, what do you think is the most beautiful place in RPG's?

Sean

You are my hero. I would love to play that game again. The last time I played it my save game messed up and I couldn't start disk 4. I was not happy. What do I think is most beautiful? The coastline in Miesareaux Coast in FFXI. I could sit there for hours just listening to the waves crashing at the foot of the cliffs. For an offline RPG, I would have to say that waterfall area in Magna Carta that makes my PS2 run like molasses. That is all I can think of at this moment.

Which RPG has the best ending? I should say FFIX since it IS my favorite but it left so many un-answered questions that I can't (Although, a very interesting article on gameFAQS explained alot of them very well, as to the purpose of Necron). So, I'm going to go with Shadow Hearts 2: Covenant. Just because it was so sad and for the HUGE twist at the end. Why haven't you played that game yet?

Sean

I never finished that one. I bought it at a used game store, but didn't get around to playing it. Then something happened and the game didn't exist. The game was shattered. Joy. And...I never felt the urge to really play it anyways. Shadow Hearts had pissed me off.

As to which RPG characters I fancy I'll have to go with... Kingdom Hearts's Riku (KH2 version), Zidane (He's cute really!! The little monkey boy~) and Yuri of Shadow Hearts. And although I'm a girl, I've always liked Dagger with her long hair... It kills every time inside when she cuts it off!! It was pretty...

Lady Bahamut

Sean

I agree with you there. Akane cuts her hair in Ranma 1/2. Sakura does it in Naruto. Dagger/Garnet in FFIX. My girlfriend in real life. My heart broke four times.

Thanks for writing in, m'Lady Bahamut!



That better be a typo


How many times did you hit "send" a second before realizing you forgot something?

Sean

It would need like four digits to count them all. Yep, that often.

Anyway, just wanted to mention Shit Megami Tensai. I played Devil Summoner which is a lot different than the rest of the series (supposedly) because it's much more action oriented. It was certainly a difficult game, I died several times near the beginning in normal random battles and several times during boss battles.

Sean

Hmmm I don't know, if you made a typo or if that is your opinion of thge series. I gave that a try when I first got it, but I never did try it out for longer. It is backlogged.

I'm also playing Person 3 now and while it's not very difficult at the moment, I'm not very far into it. Also, since the game is encompassed in 365 days, I'm afraid I might run into difficulty later for not spending enough time to level up. Considering all the things you can do in this game, I'm pretty casual about it. I'm just assuming I'll replay it with an FAQ to get the maximum value from everything.

Zohar Gilboa

Sean

There is a ton of stuff to do in that game, or so I've heard. I haven't started it yet, but I think I might end up with a FAQ on the side, since I really need to get one of the chicks for my very own! I am a little frightened that I might spend too much time and not meet the deadlines in that game. Does anything happen if you do?

Thanks for writing in, Zohar!



Anyone else had the same problem with FFXII?


Hey (whoever it is today... I haven't read the q&a for a long time and am seriously out of the loop)

Sean

Hi, I am Sean. I do weekends.

Really this was supposed to be a standard what-game-should-i-play-next and to some extent, it will be. These are the games I've considered for my next gaming pleasure: odin sphere, suikoden v, rogue galaxy or valkyrie profile 2. So, what do you make of it? All interesting games and I haven't got enough time with school and everything to powerplay through a couple of them.

Sean

Well I am taking votes for my next game to play. Look at the sidebar ->. Suikoden 5 is winning. I did play Valkyrie Profile 2. It was really good, but I found it to be a little difficult to the point of frustrating.

Another question I had was about FFXII. I am now at the very end and have done just about everything, and it has taken me close to 130 hours. But one thing bothered me, which doesn't get explained anywhere. In the barheim passage there is a rare game monster that holds a trophy, Ishteen, and contrary to what is said in guides, this monster appeared BEFORE I got into the hunt club. Has anyone else had this problem? So, now I can't finish hunt club. Sucks. And, one time, while running through stilshrine of miriam, a staircase appeared where there should'nt be one (hall of kings or whatever it's called, where negalmuur appears). I ran on and thought to examine it later but then it was gone. Freaky.

Hope you can answer one of these questions, Best, Magnus

Sean

I've heard that a few times before. I am still mad at SE for making the whole Zodiak Spear thing. That is a definite strategy guide bonus. I didn't do the hunt club, but I did kill all the marks. The last one was definitely a hand full.

Thanks for writing in, Magnus!



How do you like your scaling done?


Hi Matt.

I don't mind which scale a game uses for the characters. After all, it's just a relative measure of how much stamina one character has compared to another. The only important thing is to be able to read it easily. Also, I like how in Xenogears and Xenosaga there are seperate HP scales for characters and their robots (characters have HP up to 999 I think and the robots up to 99999). That makes sense since the big metal things should be a lot more durable than our fleshy bodies.

Sean

Hehe, it looks like I double-posted you today. It works though. I tend to take from the bottom of my inbox... and there you were twice. I hope you have a lucky day!

But the giant robots have less durability, if I recall correctly. All I need with a HP scale is that leveling up makes a difference. The Mario RPG games don't seem to believe in giving you much of a HP advantage.

Now that I think about it, Front Mission 3 also had that - HP in the hundreds or low thousands for the robots and the characters themselves had 10 HP (although they were a lot less damaged than the robots. A 300HP shot on a robot would do 3 damage or so on a character).

Sean

That makes sense. A character in a mech would only feel the shock of a blow, unless said blow would pierce the armored plating to hit the pilot itself...

This reminds me of something I don't like in games - a cheating computer. I refer to the many situations in which you take off thousands of HP from a boss but when the boss suddenly joins your party it has 100 HP or something. Some strategy RPGs avoid that by having all enemies' (or almost all of them) stats visible to the player and they have the same parameters as your own characters. Same thing in Pokemon. You know that, unless it's a special ability, you can grow exactly as strong as your adversaries since they use the same system as you.

Zohar Gilboa

Sean

My first problem with that was with Yang in FFIV: a nice ally, a nasty adversary, a weak ally--In that order. It feels a little frustrating sometimes. Some games even give an excuse (he was being controlled, his magic item was destroyed in the fight, etc). I have a problem where spells and abilities have the following areas of effect: single/group/party. Enemies can be made immune to group spells by seperating their stacks (think of an enemy party consisting of: 2 Slimes, 1 Drakey, 2 Slimes). Meanwhile, your party is always hit by group AND party spells. Sigh. I hate you Lufia.



Another bug reported...


Hey Matt,

So I went out and bought Wild Arms 5 today. All I can do is pray that they didn't drop the ball right at the end like they did with WA4. For those who don't know what happened to 4, they removed a pair of enemies from the game, but failed to remove them from the bestiary, preventing anyone from completing the bonus content. XSeed basically said "Our bad" and did nothing.
Sean

Man that must suck. My condolences. Are there any Game Shark codes to fix that?

Oh! I went to EB Games the other day to get Wild Arms 5. Their computer said they had one, they had the disks behind the counter, but the game box was nowhere to be found. Someone must have swiped it. Oh well.

They called the closest EB, who turned out they had a copy for me. They put it aside, and I arrived there twenty minutes later to find out that the guy there sold it to someone else instead. I almost lost it. The guy's boss lost it though. Apparently I am a valued customer, or something. This is the same guy who tried to convince me not to buy Blade Dancer because he wanted it for himself. ^_^

I think they should have made a bunch of "fixer" discs available for free (the way Nintendo did with the Wii Strap recall) that simply loaded your save game file and added the two monsters to the "seen" column. It would have cost them almost nothing (since I doubt there were too many people who would order the disc), and it would have brought them really good PR among the gamers.

At least, that's my two cents,

Nightwolf

Sean

Well, Xseed did send me a replacement manual and cover slip for Brave Story, so they aren't all bad. A fix for your issue should have been given. There should be no excuse. Did the Japanese version have the same issue?

Thanks for writing in, Nightwolf! See, you are not always going to be quickied!



QUICKIES

Hi Matt,
I'll make this letter brief. Celes from FF6 had the sexiest dress, Quistis had the personality that I felt attached to and 'sexy female' glasses, Tia from Lufia 2 had some heartwrenching feelings that I hate Maxim ever more for, Jessica from Dragon Quest 8 was indeed "va va voom" as it's put in the game, and Shion has an adorably attractive cuteness about her in the first Xenosaga game. It seems then, from this list, that there's a feeling of 'wanting to be professional' or something that I like... am I missing any women from games, do you think? (yay sock 2 returns. gorgant = not professional-seeming)
-Kharamain

Sean
Gorgant killed me badly. I liked Jessica. She was both hawt and intelligent. She had a great personality. I think you are missing Rose from Overlord. She was fun. Too bad she is the "good" choice for a Mistress. Her sister would have been funner for sure. And why the hell did I choose to be an Elf Lover? Man...

Hey Matt, you talked how FFXII's "consistency of the language, even among the most random NPCs, was, as Gordon Ramsay would say, "just spot-on!" (HK, anyone?)" SO I have to ask...what TV show would you like made into a portable RPG? I'd go with either Hell's Kitchen or House MD...your response?
BLG

Sean
I don't watch those shows. Heroes, for sure. Thanks for the letter!



IN CLOSING

I've been watching too much tv lately. Robot Chicken is fun, as is that West Coast show. Mark Hamil rocks.

I promise a longer column for tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!



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Sean played Overlord all day and the game never crashed once (actually it had never crashed before...)


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