Send a Letter Mail Me Recent Columns Archives

Column 9: Holiday Weekend, Finale
September 3rd, 2007

Sean - 10:40am EDT

Yesterday's party went fine. By the time everyone left it was 9pm which gave me enough time to prepare and eat supper. I did so while watching Derailed with my parents. After I finished eating I had the chance to play some Etrian Odyssey and the rest of the evening was determined then and there.

Before I say anything else, I need to talk about EO. This game both fascinates and terrifies me. It is boring, frustrating and utterly captivating. I can't really explain it--It is more of a moment to moment thing. The whole feel of the game is wonderful, the grind is excruciatingly fun, but I get bored after a couple of hours. No matter how much I grind in that game, I still feel underleveled. Well usually--I did take down a Stalker in one turn!

For those that are wondering, I am currently at the boss of floor B12F. I haven't tried it yet, as I wanted to clear some quests from my quest log first. This has been mostly done. I ran into a Golem which beat me down so badly I was embarrassed. I guess I need to level up some more for him too. Or at least get some better weapons and armour. I kind of resent the fact that equipment is based on what you have harvested and not milestones in your explorations. *grumbles*

What is on my plate today? I want to try to finish Overlord this afternoon. If I can help it, I will be in bed early tonight curled up with a good book. Etrian Odyssey will be hibernating for a couple weeks, I believe. Or better yet, a round of LOTRO is much needed, but that will depend on my boss being ready to play. I'll call him after this column is up for your reading pleasure.

Let's get to the letters!

From one of our South American friends

Hi Matt:

Interesting topic that you put the other day: Which games have you played that have inspired you to reach into your very soul and ask questions about yourself, your feelings, or the world around you? I think the impact that a game can cause to somebody is in connection with the personal emotions when you play it.


Matt comes up with all the good hot topics. I need to learn something from him. Please go on.

In my case, music is essencial to trigger the effect. For example, in FF X in the scene where Auron tells Tidus that Sin is Jecht, after that I spent many minutes standing at the pier in Luca, listening to Masashi Hamauzu's "Wandering Flame", I cannot remember what I felt, Tidus stood there, trying to assimilate what happened, without that tune the impact would not be the same.


I agree with that. The song 1000 Words from FFX-2 touched me profoundly. That being said, it didn't cause me to think about myself. That sort of seeking within doesn't happen very often when I play games--And I can't think of a single instance of it at this moment.

A feeling of being chased by the world I found it when the party was escaping from Macalania Temple after killing Seymour, again with Junya Nakano's "Those who come closer".

(Spoilers ahead) In Final Fantasy XII, when Gabranth is finally defeated at Bahamut Fortress, I felt a sensation of redemption, listening to the dialogue: Gabranth: Have you your fill of this? /// Basch: I would ask you the same. Let this end, Noah /// Gabranth: I've no right to be called by that name. /// Basch: Then live. And reclaim it. (Spoilers ends). And of course, listening to Hitoshi Sakimoto's "Sorrow (Imperial version)".

What do you think of music as a part of this inspiration that some games produce?

Thank you,




That particular scene was awesome. Redemption all the way! Once again I must reiterate that I don't have much of a musical ear like Matt does. I prefer songs with lyrics (in fact listening to Rihanna's Unfaithful while writing this), but some songs do really pull at my heartstrings. I feel immense joy when listening to the Final Fantasy theme song, the Zelda theme song, as well as sad when hearing the tune from FFVII when you-know-who is put to rest.

I don't think music has more inspiration for introspection than say the storyline. For those that appreciate music, there might be some hidden feelings, but they go right over my head. Subject matter is much more able to force this upon me...

On another note, I picked up a CD a while ago, Risa Ohki's Pray. It has vocalized FF tunes. It was a blast! Thanks for writing in!

A new writer! Yay!




Yo. But I am not Matt. ^^;

Awkward greeting phase passed. Hooray! In response to your question, I'm MUCH more a fan of larger numerical systems than smaller ones. Larger numbers, to me, at least, represent more of a fine tuning of point systems--in the way that decimals (short of 1.00) can never reach a complete number, but can only come infinitely close, larger numbers (or, more accurately, the chunks taken out of them by damage) represent a closer approximation of the resource being lost, be it health, magic, whatever. Games like Paper Mario (which, admittedly, I still lurve with a passion) aggravate the crap out of me with their low-digit number systems.


My problem with Paper Mario is that the numbers are too low and progress never seems to be made. Brave Story also sees small increases, but at least you get something EVERY level. *sigh*

Larger numbers do give you a chance to see a bigger range of damage, while still making weaker members deal significant amounts of damage without being totally useless. I am looking at you, Rydia's whip.

A question of my own: Just recently, I finished the Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion, marking my utter completion of all official content for Elder Scrolls IV. Immediately, I found myself hungering for something of similar scope--that is, an open environment with an epic plot, which one can deviate from or ignore entirely. At a loss, I fired up Morrowind again (that game ate three months of my life when it first came out). It's nice, and provides a certain sense of nostalgia, but I wonder--is there anything else of similar scope and awesomeness? Being anti-social, I'm not much of an MMO fan, and I was absolutely disgusted with Two Worlds after playing the demo. I know Fallout 3 is on the horizon, but I need my fix now! Are there any other options?


Of new games? Nothing much, frankly. Try giving Overlord a shot--I am enjoying it a bit too much now. Or come join me in LOTRO. There you can solo or group as you want. Or you can join my guild of three people.

I think I will get Oblivion: Game of the Year Edition when it comes out. As for other games, you might want to try Dark Messiah. For older games there is Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate and Torment. You could also give Guild Wars a shot, as you can solo the entire thing with henchmen and patience.

Also--I'm not sure if this topic's come up before, but is anyone else bothered by the Wii version of Twilight Princess' mirror world? I know it's probably not an issue for most, but as I'm a lefty, and Link's (normally) a lefty, the switch from left- to right-handedness for the Wii port of the game seriously throws me off, to the point where I'm considering trading it in for the GC version, as attempting to swing with my right arm is just incredibly difficult to do.

Stalwart warrior against handist oppression, El Wang


Unfortunately you lefties are in a serious minority. They mirrored Link to make it easier for all of us righties. Sorry man, but majority rules. Thanks for writing in. Please write in again! Or better yet, make it a weekly ritual!

Yeah, where are the RPGs?

Hey Matt or Matt equivalent,


Hello. I don't think we have met yet. How do you do? Oh, I don't think there is a Matt equivalent. No one else can like DQ even half as much as him...

Your numerical scale question actually brought up an interesting thought..

I don't really care about the exact scale they use, it all usually works about the same for me. What I don't really like, though, is that...well, ever notice how with a lot of these scales there's an arbitrary limit usually consisting of a bunch of 9s? There's a bit of a problem. I mean, some games it doesn't matter because you'll never get anywhere close to a limit like that (unless you're one of those people who always power level and insist on being twice as strong as everything else, which is another pet peeve of mine). But in games where you're actually going to be reaching these maximums by the end of the game, it gets annoying.. And how hard is it really to start another digit, anyway?


I see your point. It used to make sense when the limits were a power of two, for electronic storage reasons (like 255 stats, etc). The 9999 limit is purely an artificial limit with no basis in reasoning other than to limit how high damage the final boss can hit you with.

I remember a game (but not its title--help me someone?) where the 9999 limit was for display only. Hitting for more actually caused more damage than you saw on screen. While on the subject, my pet peeve in this area is when you hit this artificial level early in a game with no room for growth afterwards. Like say in Shadow Madness when you hit maximum level like 20% of the way through the game from just random encounters. *sigh*

Here's another question for you: why aren't there more RPGs in development for the Wii? The reason that popped into my head is that there seem to be a lot of RPG developers who like to try something different with their gameplay seemingly for the sake of doing something different, and that really seems like the place to go for that sort of stuff. I'm really not sure what specifically they could do aside from actually have the player act out the motions for using weapons or magic or whatever else (which I know is something I've seen before in this column back when you were getting started), but it still seems like a good opportunity for a novel RPG experience. Any thoughts?

I'd write more, but I'm tired, been packing to move halfway across the state (and I don't care that I live in a pretty small state, it's still rough going). So take it easy!

-- Arpijy


The truth to the matter is: there are. We just haven't been told about them yet. I expect big news from the Tokyo Game Show this month. I am more concerned with the lack of RPGs for the PS3, but once again I expect news soon on that front too. The Wii is still by Nintendo and some developers might still not want to develop for the "weaker" machine. Anyways, we'll see more in a few weeks.

Thanks for writing in Arpijy and have a safe move!

Hmmm Wafflemages... Yummy!

Hello, Sir Matt.

It's sad to see you go but good luck in life.

Now, gaming glitches. I'm particularly fond of those that give you a ridiculous advantage or do something that looks so distorted that it just looks hilarious, Like Missingno or Glitch City. There's also some other glitches that didn't let you play the game for long periods of time. That being the port of Majora's Mask in the Zelda Collector's Edition back when the GameCube became 99$.


Interesting. I never heard of anything of the sort.

I couldn't play for long since it would freeze up or stop loading the next area Link was going into.

I was able to work around that by saving constantly, which made my playthrough much longer. I did not mind that since I love Majora's Mask.


I would have quit on the spot in your shoes. It just isn't as fun when it is unstable.

Now, gaming glitches that destroy your dungeon runs or save data, and what have you. Those are a pain.

I could just hope that I could work around it or get lucky hat it wont happen on that playthrough.

Very well, I bid you farewell.

Take care, man.

Wafflemage, first time writer, long time reader of your column.


I hated Pools of Radiance (the newer one) for that reason. Baldur's Gate 1 and The Temple of Elemental Evil both had corruption issues, but less frequently for me. This is the single biggest turn off for me when it comes to PC games. And then... there was Vanguard. *sigh*

I think you should suggest the Wafflemage to SE for the next FF game. Thanks for writing in!

Come here for some more Brave Story plugs!


I know that you've heard this a lot by now, but since this is my first letter to you, I feel obligated to say it: congratulations on earning the weekend Q&A host position. I'm really glad that we finally have a CRPG-playing host, as many of our past hosts (and even most of our readers) seem to be console-exclusive fans. It's about time we get some more RPG taste diversity on RPGamer.


I hear you. It is hard to get Matt to even talk about his PC, let alone use it for games. I am still working on it, I sweat to you.

Pre-ordering with down payments can be a nuisance, but I can understand the necessity if the game will become rare later on. While that can be reasonably assumed for Atlus games, who knew that games like Panzer Dragoon Saga, Suikoden II, Shemue, Dragon Force, and more would become so rare (and eBay inflated) in such a short time? I guess pre-orders help to make things more guaranteed for you, but I think that's a poor reason to argue that pre-orders are good in general.


I just preorder everything now. If I change my mind, I just cancel it. I think my next Ebay trip will be: "I would like to preorder everything that comes out in the next three months. Yep, $5 on each. Thank you very much."

You sure love Brave Story, don't you? Could you tell us more about what you love about it? It's because I've read so many reviews calling the game mediocre that I'm going to need as much convincing as possible to try it myself. The only good reviews for the game seem to come from RPGamer.


I like to read reviews from people who are like me. Hence, I trust RPGamer over other sites. If you want it to be compared with the latest Madden game, hit IGN. I really liked the game. It was simple, it had great characters, the battle system was sheer fun, and it reminded me of the old Batman show. It was well written too. And did I mention that Meladee is awesomeness incarnate? Oh, and pissing off monsters adds a level of risk to even the simplest of battles. The most important factor is that it addicted me with its charm and presentation. I haven't been hooked in that way since... Final Fantasy IX, I think.

It's probably pointless by now, but... I'll place my vote for Tales of Legendia. Now there's another game that is considered mediocre by the masses, but I think it's great. I was able to look past its criticism and try the game for myself, and I somehow personally found it to be wonderful. If you can love Brave Story despite the criticism it gets from mainstream reviewers, then maybe you can like Legendia too. I should probably follow my own advice and play Brave Story already.


I started it and played for a few hours. I was a little upset that the main guy uses his fists, but it was a fun experience, nonetheless. I might just end up playing it before Suikoden 5, as it has already been started. Play Brave Story.

And can you believe that I've met some people (in college!) who don't know how to pronounce S-E-A-N? Well, considering how most of these individuals don't even know the capital for their home states, or what thirteen squared is...



169! Yes, I get that mispronounciation all the time. It got old when I was three. Yet... everyone know how to pronounce Sean Connery. *sigh*

Thanks for writing in, First Aid!

There are just too many Matts to keep track of.


Society always needs a swift kick in the arse in my opinion. Human creatures are bogged down in belief systems, fenced in by taboos, and riddled with false ideas of race, culture and god and country. So, whenever there is a game that blatantly messes with all of that in some form or another, it is a very good thing. Xenogears and the Xenosaga was amazing. Nothing about it was offensive like some people say, but it was thought provoking, or at the very least....INTERESTING. Not all RPG's should throw in sex or "adult" themes, because that would be cheap. But, games should have the same freedoms that other works of art do, regardless of the kiddies in the audience that might come across it.


I agree. I have much more problems with kids seeing graphic violence (like GTA, or that 50 cent game) than a boob, or the suggestion of a boob. I have never understood why Americans are so jaded.

Uptight and ignorant adults forget what it was like to be a kid. Its not the R-rated movie or the violent videogame that is going to sway their life down the wrong path, but it could be the unattentive and unloving parent that gives the same kid signals that he needs to find solace in more negative outlets because that's what he/she has been taught. Enough of that, I got a DQ question real quick: I missed about 10 mini medals on DQ8, and im right before the Black Citadel. I did not miss the missable ones at Marta's Cottage, but I have no idea where else I missed them, other than some dungeon I rushed through or the field. AHHH!!! Frustrating!

I thought i'd share, just in case you had some magical insight into this problem. I really want the Flail of Destruction for Yangus!

Matt D.


Yep. GTA doesn't kill people. The parents who buy GTA for their kids kill people. And then the parents complain that GTA is violent. Don't get me started.

Use a FAQ like all of us peons. Thanks for writing in, Matt!

On power outages... and stupidity

Hi Matt,

I remember that the first time I played Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, after I had just gotten through a cutscene that kept making the game freeze (right when you get the Ring of Destruction) and was heading through the Shrine of Kaddan, an interesting but boring area in my opinion (with tough monsters), we had a power outage. It was very frustrating...


I hate it when that happens. My condolescences.

My dad, too, has pressed the power switch haphazardly before. I was levelling up in Final Fantasy 4 and hadn't saved in ages, and he came in for dinner and didn't even say a word as he pulled the power button. Needless to say, I was not impressed.



That has happened to me before too. I was playing FFXI and I was fighting the little Taru arch angel when BAM, power went out! I picked up my SP-flashlight and found my way upstairs, only to hear my dad say... "oops". *sigh*

Thanks for writing in! What does that nickname mean?

Thieving siblings can be worse than magpies!

Hi Sean (I'm right, right? It's Sean?).


Yep, it's-a-me, Sean!

Do you have any siblings? Do they steal your consoles? I used to have my PS2 in my room but my brother wanted to play FFVII so I took it to the family room for an indefinite period. Lately, though, he started taking it to his room. Not only that, but I can't find my controller or the TV hookup! I swear, if that ever happens again I'll never let him touch it. I wouldn't mind him doing so if he made sure to place everything back (although I'm not thrilled about the delicate machine being taken up and down stairs all the time).


Yes, I have siblings. Console-stealing is an offense punishable in... nothing. They don't do it. I get too angry when things up and disapear on me. There was this one time though... My brother swiped my PS2 with my review copy of Xenosaga in it, brought it to his friend's house and forgot it there. When he got it back (an hour later--I made him drive back to get it), he needed to go back a second time to get the disk. I had a deadline to meet for the guide I was writing on it. He never did it again without asking.

I don't mind, if they want to play a game. I don't like it when they carry them around, so I tend to wire them up for everyone else. But lately, they don't play at all. My sister likes playing hack-and-slash games with me, and my brother is a PC gamer lately.

Have you had such exploitations? I have a good friend and we always exchange games but we never break or lose anything.

Zohar Gilboa


I have lost many a game to good friends. *sigh*

My siblings use me as personaly tech support for themselves AND all their acquaintances. It sucks sometimes. I have built seven PCs this year and none of them were mine! *cries*

Thanks for writing in!

Do any enemies have a billion HP yet?

Is it dumb for characters or monsters to have millions of HP? It's dumb for characters to have millions of HP, but not monsters. Monsters having millions of HP provides challenge to the player. Player characters having millions of HP would make the game too easy.


Unless monsters had billions and trillions and damage was done in the millions. *shrugs*

The actual number of digits in the HP total doesn't matter much. The key is to make the system well balanced. If you took the Paper Mario system and doubled all the HP, DEF, and ATK numbers, the system would be relatively intact.


True dat.

On a side note:
Yiazmat, the strongest enemy in FF12, has 50112254 HP (A.K.A. 50 millon)
Nemesis, the strongest enemy in FF10, has 10000000 HP (A.K.A. 10 million)
Ruby Weapon from FF7 has 800000 HP (A.K.A. 800 thousand) and Emerald Weapon from the same game has 1000000 (1 Million).

All of those provided good challenge (I didn't actually beat any of them, and I don't care). Also you might notice a pattern in the above numbers.


I beat the FFVII and FFXII guys, but not the FFX guys. I couldn't care less about the arena in that game.

Another thing about RPG battle systems is randomness. For example, damage in Fire Emblem is not random at all, but things like hit% and stat raising are. Very little is random in the Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door battle system. Do you like randomness in RPGs?


I like randomness in games, but not too much. I don't like games where you level and there is an equal chance of getting +10 to all stats as +0 to all stats. That is just pure stupidity, in my opinion.

Can you show me what an HTML-tagged letter looks like? Are letters so tagged more likely to be posted?



More likely to be posted? Not at all. It just saves us like two seconds when posting it. Well a list of musical links from JuMeSyn formatted thusly would save a few minutes. Normally, we need to format the letters in HTML by using paragraph < p > and < / p > tags to mark each paragraph (to stop them from running together). Not essential, I just wanted to give Matt a nice smile. And it worked.

Thanks for writing in!

HP scaling--What is your preference? Another opinion within!


I have been reading this column for a long time, but have never written in, until your hot topic about RPG number scales caught my eye. I am a second-generation gamer, as my father and I played Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy for so many hours on the Nintendo that my mother threatened to leave us both, and I have a 14-year old son who has inherited the RPG gene. However, as a relative newcomer to gaming, I find many of his views on gaming to be interesting, to say the least. Aside from his rabid, though certainly not unique, insistence that Final Fantasy VII is the alpha and omega of all that is good, he is quite caught up on the common aspects of current-generation games, graphics, movies, and hit points approaching numbers that require scientific notation to write down.


Sorry, I had to break up the letter. The younger they are, the harder they fall for graphics it seems. Which leads me to question why he likes FFVII so much. I can't play that game at all. I have a thing against old 3d graphics, hence the problem with Persona. They just don't age well at all. Sprites do though.

When I read your topic, I was reminded of conversations I have had with him, where he would ask what my hit point totals were in a game I was playing. When I would give him a number in the low hundreds or less, his immediate response was that I must be just starting the game or low-leveled. This would occur even in games he had never played, and the truth was I may have been quite near the end of whatever game it was I was currently playing. Invariably, he would make some sort of comment about how low hit-point levels were inferior in some way to high levels. No matter how I explained that, so long as damage and hit points scale together in some way, what the actual numbers for either actually is may not be important. That said, my feeling on the issue is that, provided the balance in the game works, the numbers behind them can be either high or low without really affecting my enjoyment of the game. Of course, high numbers are kind of fun to watch the damage roll out, and low numbers do seem to provide a greater sense of accomplishment for each hit point or point of damage gained, as well as a little more tension in fights where hit points reach critical levels. Just a couple thoughts I had about numbers. Keep up the good work!



You hit the mail on the head right there. It is all in the balance, but I still like the sense of advancement. There is just something stupid about leveling and getting 1HP (I am looking at you, D&D tactics!). It looks like I will have to do the save/reload thing in that game to maximize my characters.

Thanks for writing in, George! I hope to hear from you again!


Raquel Applegate is the sole reason I finished Wild Arms 4 (It's also the only Wild Arms game I've completed). She definitely gets my vote for sexy game character. She's completey covered, which leaves practically everything to the imagination. She's attractive without being whorish (I'm looking at you, Rebecca from WA5). She's stupid powerful. I felt like I was cheating when using her. Also, the conclusion to her story is realistic, poignant, and heartwrenching. RPGamers should definitely check this one out despite its fair, but less than AAA reviews.

I'll have to keep my eyes out for her on my eventual playthrough of that game. I like my women fully-clothed in games--It gives me a chance to enjoy the story and not be distracted all the time! ^_^

Hey Matt! I saw what you said about mp3, and while i agree to a certain extent with your comments about hte control, it'll probably become way, way easier than the busted turn-like-a-tank system the last 2 games had. If you don't wanna constantly turn, just hold the Z-lock button. it's that simple. Instead of the last game, which had holding nothing and moving as the screen-locked movement mode, this game is the opposite. i'll normally use the wiimote to find a good looking direction, then Z-lock it as I walk and strafe/walk forward, unlocking, looking, and relocking if i want to change my vantage point. After a while, you won't even need the locking as you'll find a comfortable position to rest the aiming-wiimote in that's right around the center of the screen. and if you're using novice lock mode you might as well not be playing, as the lock requiring you to aim the reticule makes the game muuuch more fun. Enjoy the game--don't write it off yet!
By far the best of the three. Leaps and bounds.
-Doby G/Swerd

Sorry for hijacking this. I am having issues playing it too. I tend to sit too close to the machine and I keep losing the Wiimote detection. The room is just too small, I guess. Anyways, my last half hour I played I ended up locking my wrist. I had to stop, it was that painful. I need to figure out how to play the damn game without repeating that incident.

Hey Matt, In 8/28's column, you said, "if you don't believe me, supersede me as a Q&A host when I retire this winter and you'll see exactly what I mean." This raises an alarm for you actually plan to retire from QnA this coming winter? I just have to ask.

He has come clean with his intentions last week. I know exactly what I mean when he says it is hard to give everyone a turn. It takes between an hour and two hours to answer five letters. To answer more takes a lot longer, especially for me. I still have an overhead associated with the templating. Oh well. At least I have enough letters to have this problem!

I meant to say FF2 instead of FF7 in that letter I send you. But I think you could guess from the context.



Phew. That is a double-sized column for you all today. I hope you enjoy it. Remember my comment about my sister's taste in games? Well, she wants to play a round of Untold Legends 3, so who am I to deny her? I haven't had a chance to play games with her for a while, so this could be fun!

Well this wraps up another week. Please be kind to Matt. Expect me to be irritable next week--I start classes on Thursday after having a semester off. I am taking two classes, but I forget which two. I will be sure to mention them on Saturday!

Peace out!

Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 8--Decent
Sean is tired of typing

"Shut up and Drive!"

Most Recent

Sept. 2: Sean

Sept. 1: Sean

Aug. 31: Matt

Aug. 30: Matt


Quote Archives

Now Obsessed With:

1. Dungeons and Dragons Tactics
2. Etrian Odyssey
3. Overlord
4. Persona
5. Lord of the Rings Online
6. 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 (1 vote)
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

© 1998-2017 RPGamer All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy