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ASK SEAN
Column 11: A New Love
September 9th, 2007

Sean - 7:55pm EDT

The contest is in full swing. Another prize is handed out today. For what? You'll see soon enough! I hope you all enjoy this contest, as much as I have fun designing it. Of course, I am not done with the design--I need to figure out how to give out the Mega Prizes.

I played a good four hours of Untold Legends this morning. I got Telekinesis and I am having a blast. I expect another session to occur tomorrow, and I hope it does. This is the only real way I can spend time with my sister, and we won't have time to do so once her baby is born. After Untold Legends I have lined up Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I have heard good things about it.

Today's column title refers to the new love that I bear for George RR Martin, author of A Game of Thrones. Now there was a story. It was gripping in the end. I just wish I had all seven parts in my hand, but alas the final three are not available yet. Anyways, I need to shelve the series as reading 2400 pages that are not for my classes will seriously cut into my reading time. But as soon as said classes are done... Expect to see by Gorne|Reading in the irc channel at ALL times that I am home.

That is enough of an update for now. Let's get to the letters!




LETTERS
Everyone say hi to our marsupial friend!


Heya Sean!

So I was hoping to have some info to share with you about one of the new CRPGs that are out be it Two Worlds or Sword of the New World but bills snuck up on me and demands I pay them before buying new games (damn real world responsiblities!) I did start replaying Oblivion and I have to say, I can't remember what I liked about the game. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for it, and I do remember enjoying it on my first time through (even through I've never actually beaten the game) but now it just seems to be an endless skill level grind that's just boringly monotonous. It's actually made me second guess getting either Two Worlds or Sword of the New World even now that I have the money for them simply because I'm wary of buying games that end up being complete crap and just sit on my shelf after only a few hours of play. I bought Rogue Galaxy and Radiata Stories and couldn't play through more than 5-10 hours on either, and since I'm completely against selling my games I have a growing collection of games I don't like and will probably never play again. My non-rpg friends wonder why I don't at least rent the games beforehand, but unfortunately most of the rental places in my area don't carry rpgs so that's not an option. I suppose I could do something like netflix but that seems like too much of a hassle to me. You ever run into a problem like this?

Sean

I do buy a lot of crap. Some things look better than they play. That is all I can say. I do sell some of my games, though. I call it "weeding the collection", or "purging the crap." I haven't done it in a while. To stay in my collection, the game needs to survive the following question: "Do I want to play this game again?"

I think I am off of MMOs now. I just can't get myself to sit down and play one. I guess I might be growing up? I don't have any friends who actively play them anymore anyways...

Speaking of Radiata Stories reminded me of your question about the main character who didn't deserve the role. The main reason I couldn't get into the game was because of Jack Russell, the main character. He was too annoying, stuck up and just plain useless. I don't mind having a young main hero who has room to grow, but I'd like him to at least not be so annoying that I want to shoot him or myself to end the pain. Which, in turn, reminds me of Tidus from FFX whom I also could not stand. it was mainly the voice acting for Tidus but his pre-pubescent "I'm an amazing sports guy and I can fix eveyrthing, everyone follow me even though I don't know anything about anything" attitude really grated on my nerves after a while...in case you couldn't tell ;) But in terms of supporting roles I gotta give props to Kain from FFIV, always loved that guy.

Sean

Something about his betrayal gets on my nerves. I know it wasn't intentional, but he was always jealous of Cecil... He must have wanted Rosa for himself. I didn't have any issues with Tidus, but I didn't like Jack one bit. Radiata Stories was purged.

What else, what else. Oh, you should definitely play Suikoden V, especially if you muddled your way through the fourth game. How'd you manage that, by the way? The only way I was able to do it was because I had a friend watch me play the game and we MST3000'd it the whole game through, actually made it a pleasant experience rather than the atrocity that game actually was. The fifth game is really good though, brings it back to the old school beginnings but touches it up with some nice new stuff (someone mentioned the formations which are awesome). The only bad thing I'd say about the game is that the rune your main hero gets is fairly lack luster in comparison to some of the runes in the previous installments.

Sean

It was during my reduced hours period at my previous job. The period before we lost our jobs. I was basically working 12-20 hours a week, and they gave me a long weekend--in the middle of the week. I sat down and started to play. Soon enough (like on day two or three), it simply ended. I disliked the main guy there, but the Rune of Pain was cool.

Oh, and as for a fantasy series that I wouldn't mind seeing made into a videogame I'd have to say Fred Saberhagen's "Sword" series. It has an actual title but that's what I always call it and anyone whose read it will know what I'm talking about. The series is about these swords that were forged by the gods (Roman Gods) and then dispersed to the humans in what amounts to a game to the gods. There are 12 swords and each one grants special powers, one heals, one grants you could luck, one disguises you, etc., etc. I could see it being a nifty action/adventure/rpg if done properly.

Sean

Give me details. Titles, series length, etc. I started keeping a list of suggestions, and I want the titles and stuff ready for when I next try to be adventurous. I have a few new books upstairs, but I forget the authors and titles. When you see them pop up on my obsession list, you will see what I bought...

And in closing, the Game of Thrones is a great series keep reading it! And I don't mean to discourage you at all, but you do realize that it's going to be a 7 book series and there are only 4 books currently published? Just thought I'd mention it, it's a personal pet peeve of mine when I unknowingly start a great series and only later realize I'm going to have to potentially wait years to reach the end.

Koala Bob out!

Sean

Sadly, I do know this. I was halfway in the first book before I realized there were six more, not three. Oh well, this is a reason not to rush them. Also, I need the reading time to be focused on class stuff. These are just too addictive.

Thanks for writing in!



My first unvote. Wow.


Hey Sean,

Can I cast a negative vote for your "which game is next?" poll on your page? Because I hated Odin Sphere enough for me to want to do that. I know, I'm probably the only person on the planet who didn't like the game, but the awkward item management and the ease of running out of space was beyond frustrating for me, even after I had the maximum number of the largest bags possible. I just couldn't take it anymore, other redeeming qualities aside.

Sean

I guess I can allow this.

Also, thanks for changing the invisible text again! I was going to write to ask if you were ever going to change it after last week, but you did now, so yay!

'Til next time,

Joshua

Sean

I wasn't sure if anyone reads it, so I just left it. Yesterday I had a reason to change it, so I did. Thanks for the unvote and the letter, Joshua!



It is all a mystery to me too...


Sean;

A mystery contest full of mystery, with a bunch of mystery prizes? Sounds mysterious!

I wonder if Iíll accidentally win something?

Sean

I hope so. I worked hard on it. Or not. I am not too sure. I might in the future though.

You just might. You never know. Of course, you can try to figure out how to increase your chances of winning something, or just play blindly. Needling me for info might not help, as I don't have everything set in stone now. Something just might grab my interest and force me to give out a prize for it. You never know.

Anyways, back to those books I was talking about before. The first novel in the Belgariad series is called Pawn of Prophecy, and it is by David and Leigh Eddings. Start there and if you like it, the rest of them will be listed in order inside, Iím sure.

Sean

Suggestion... noted.

Now- on to video games and answering questions about them.

Are there any characters whose motives for joining my party are confusing to me? Why yes, there are a handful of them.

First and foremost is Cid from FFVII. We wreck his rocket and ruin every possible chance of him getting in good with Shinra and he decides to join up. It always seemed like a case of "Meh, Iíve got nothing better to do. I guess I could smoke and swear with you guys for a bit."

Sean

My sister would just say that he is too badass to not join the party. Yes, he was pretty random. Of course, so was Red. And don't forget that Yuffie was a randomly encountered random addition to your party.

Other than that, the entire first Dark Cloud game comes to mind. Now, it has been some time since Iíve given that game a whirl, and I must admit that Iíve never beaten it- but were any of the characters ever really fleshed out enough to give much reason as to why they are helping you?

Anyways, Iím sure there are others, but that is all that comes to mind right away.

Enjoy the weekend, and best wishes for your classes next week.

Till next time;

Shawn "UFJ"

Sean

I don't have a memory for many past games. Dark Cloud was purged, as was the second Dark Cloud. I couldn't get through Dark Cloud 2--it never got my interest. I tried it three times.

Thanks for the letter, Shawn! You didn't win anything, but I have been inspired to a new win condition!



I told you I was weird...


Sean,

You do not in any way shape or form, need to play Devil May Cry 2 before 3. As a matter of fact, you don't want to. DMC 2 is most definitely the black sheep of the series and it's best forgotten. Even Capcom admits it was a joke. As for Persona, you're truly missing out on a great game in P3 if playing the earlier games is keeping you from it. It has no connection storywise to the previous games, so you won't be missing anything. I tried to play Persona 2, but it's a little too archaic in its systems for me.

Besides, we're missing half of P2 anyway since its sister game is in Japan only. It was a nice, cheap addition to my collection anyway.

Sean

It is not about the story. It is about the evolution of the series. I like to see how the latest title came to be. I am weird like that. Is anyone like me on this?

Of course, I know DMC3 is a prequel, but still 2 was released first. I just need to at least give it a try. If it sucks, I might drop it. But that might poison me towards the series. As for Persona 1, it is on its last legs. I don't feel any desire to pick it up and play it, so I might try out some Gameshark codes to make it at least interesting enough to play through quickly. It is mostly the story I want to see for now anyways.

I've now heard that there are parts of Persona 1, 2 and 3 that are not released here. That irks me.

I totally know where you're coming from, though. I have owned and have never once played Viewtiful Joe 2 or Zone of the Enders 2 because I haven't yet finished their predecessors. I'm also pushing through Xenosaga Ep. 2 since it's a direct prequel to Ep. 3. I guess my point is, it's only necessary to play the previous game if its plot is directly related to the sequel. Otherwise, don't sell yourself short.

Sean

I understand that, but I am weird ok? It is just hard for me to do so. I will get to it eventually--most of my backlog are great games. I am sure of it.

Jonezy

P.S. JuMeSyn and I are definitely on the same page.

I have (or have had. Damn myself for selling Dragon Force and Dark Savior!) all those notable Saturn games. I think I'm gonna fire up the ol' dog and play a few of those gems.

Sean

As good as some of them sound, I can't give them a try right now. My backlog is simply too big for it to happen. Thanks for the letter, Jonezy!



Theme... guessed.


To Sean,

First, this could be a personal letter to you (I guess since I'm using your MSN email) so hopefully that counts. More importantly, the theme for Saturday's column is that all the letter titles are songs played on an easy listening/ Hot Adult Contemporary radio station. I live in Chicago, okay, and the reason I'm familiar with those song titles is because I listen to a HOT AC radio station called 101.9 The Mix. The song titles you mentioned (Shut Up and Drive by Rihanna; Bubbly by Colbie Caillat; Fallin' For You by Eva Avila; Home by Daughtry; and Hips Don't Lie by Shakira) are all songs I would hear on an easy listening or hot adult contemporary radio station like The Mix. If I'm wrong about the theme, let me know, and I won't bug you here again.

Have a good day,

BLG

Sean

It wasn't quite right, but close enough. As far as I care, the nail was hit squarely, but went in on an angle. All those songs are songs that I first heard on MIX96 (Montreal station) and went out to buy the CDs that they are on.

Yes, you win a prize for it. Let me know which you want!

Oh and in the future use my RPGamer address. My yahoo account junks half the stuff I get. Thanks.



Beatrix was sooooo cool


Sean

What Nightwolf said about unwinnable battles being annoying, I agree, even when not winning said fights is integral to the story. I assume that the purpose of those fights is to make the enemy seem so mighty and superior to you, and the developers must feel that forcing you to experience that first hand in a fight is more effective that displaying their might through text or through a cutscene. But what I hate the most is when there is no indication of a battle being unwinnable, and I wind up wasting so many of my items trying to keep myself alive to no avail. However, I think I am able to tolerate fights like the ones with Beatrix in FFIX. In those fights, you DO have to fight with all your might to "win." It's just that in order to "win," instead of defeating her, you only needed to whittle away her HP to a low enough amount, at which point she'll use her ultimate move to defeat your party and run. Therefore, gameplay-wise, any resources that you used in the fight weren't wasted, and story-wise, you still lost. I think all unwinnable fights in every RPG should be like that, requiring you to do ENOUGH to pass the fight, but not actually defeat your opponent and mess with the story that the developers had in mind.

Sean

My sentiments exactly. I think I wrote something similar. I hate seeing zeroes when I hit my opponent...

And about what you said about a boxer in real life naturally having more HP than a professor due to getting hit a lot, and mages spending more time training their minds, and are therefore a little weaker in body, etc., I think that tradeoff logic makes sense, and I think that's why I'm one of the only people who really likes FFII for that reason: it just makes a whole lot more sense compared to the systems of other RPGs. This is especially true for those that award equal experience to party members who do NOTHING in a fight with those that did all the fighting. I think the reason so many people hate FFII is because of how much you could abuse the system, since it allows you to attack yourself to raises your statuses. If Square-Enix could find some way to fix that problem for a future game, then I for one would very much welcome the return of FFII system. Does anyone else feel this way?

FirstAid

Sean

Didn't they fix it in the SaGa games? I mean they didn't seem too broken when I played them... HP and other stats just reflect a character's skills, so you have to work with them in mind.

Thanks for writing in, my friend!



The inner fan girl comment reminds me of Sakura...


Hello!

This is my second time writing in~ :3 But Iím bored, its 2AM, and Iím stuck on the final boss in Tactics Ogre: Knights of Lodis (which I found at EB last week for $14 bucks~ Totally worth every penny.)

Sean

Lucky. I wanted it at one point, but then my anti-tRPG nature kicked in and I lost the urge.

Perfect reason to write into my favorite game siteís Q&A~

1. What was the RPG that got you into the genre to begin with?

I guess my -first- RPG would be Pokemon Blue. Then Dragon Quest 1 & 2. I didnít enjoy DC much, was too hard for me. ._.; And.. In pokemon I got stuck at the 3rd Gym. Took me like 4 months to figure out I had to go into the ship. Back then, I was so bad at games.

Sean

Not bad, but inexperienced. As we get older we get more patient and intuitive. I had problems with the first Dragon Warrior back in my day--it was my first too!

However, Grandia 2 for Dream Cast was the first RPG to drag me in. I was in 7th grade, which was 7 years ago. I was your average 13 year-old girl- Who always had her game boy color in her purse. >_>; I was the only girl in my school who played video games. Sigh~ I wonder how many times I had to get my mom to get it (and my cell phone ;-;) from the principalís office? Anyway!

It was a few weeks into December and I decided I HAD to have a Play Station and an odd game called "Final Fantasy" (a male class mate said Iíd like it.) But all they had were Dream Casts. So I settled. I ended up picking out Tomb Raider, Grandia 2, and Dead or Alive..

Sean

Grandia 2 sucked me in, body and soul. I loved that one to death when I first played it. The others failed to deliver, which saddened me. The final boss of Grandia didn't even have a single turn against my Justin. *sigh*

My sister used to be like that in high school. She emulated me with her like of RPGs, but she stopped after FFVIII. I love gamer girls...

Grandia 2 was everything Iíd never knew Iíd wanted. I think at the time my favorite thing about the game was the fact that 2 of the main characters were girls. I been under the impression that all games were about boys.

Grandia 2 even made me cry, I didnít think games could do that. I loved that game. Iíve probably played it about 12 times.

Sean

I've played it once. Back at those days I started building a backlog and I was always trying new games.

The second RPG (that further dragged me in) was Skies of Arcadia also for the DC. It also featured strong female leads, which made me super happy. It was also about sky pirates. What more could I ask for?

Sean

I have a history with that game. It was thoroughly enjoyable too. I never did play the remake...

A year later I got a PSX and 3 Final Fantasy Games. (FF8, FF9, and FF4? It came with Chrono Trigger..). I didnít enjoy them though, I happen to hate ATB. Which is why Iíve sworn off most FF games. Except 5. I liked that one.

3 of its 5 characters were female. (Oh Faris <3)

Sean

I like the ATB system. It makes you think fast. I just always put Wait mode on, as I like to be able to take my time for serious fights. ^^

If you havenít noticed, female characters are important to me. I just like them more then the dudes. Unless the dudes are cool (or pretty~) like Jade from ToTA or Angelo from DQ8.

Sean

I don't have any prefereces towards chick or dudes in games. I just want them to be believable. Of course, a strong chick like Chris from Suikoden 3 just impresses me.

2. What games/RPGs are you looking forward to this fall?

..hack//GU Vol 3, Growslanser: HW, FFT:LoW And maybe Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, just cause the name rocks. It really does.

Sean

I want none of the above, except for maybe the FFT remake. I would rather have FFTA2 though.

4. Played Blue Dragon? Is it really that bad?

I donít own a 360, but if I did I would have Blue Dragon. I figure it canít be as bad as Dragoneerís Aria. (Which.. I can almost enjoy, but not quite.)

Sean

Sigh. Don't talk down about Dragoneer's Aria. I was really looking forward to that one. Oh well, I think I will try it out soon enough. Maybe even tonight? I don't feel like reading tonight.

5. A musical question: Which RPGs have the best soundtracks?

Iíd have to say my fav. RPG Soundtrack would be Golden Sun 1 and 2. The theme that played at the start of the second game, before you press start, is one of my favorite songs. It makes me feel like picking up a sword and going on an adventure.

Other then that I canít say anything else is really memorable. I normally donít even notice the music. Last time I noticed that I liked or did not like a gameís music was in Xenosaga 2. Whenever I was in the city I had to turn off the volume because the music made me head hurt like something fierce.

Sean

I don't notice the music unless it is either really bad or really good. Catchy tunes will get me every time though. I've had Bubbly in my head for like three days now. I do notice bad sound effects though. I can't stand games like Record of Lodoss War where you can hear the sounds of your footsteps over the background noise. Now imagine the guy wearing iron boots. It was not pretty.

Also! The "RPG with the Best Ending" question, which was removed: Of all the recent games Iíve played, Dragon Quest 8 had the best ending. It made me smile. And most of all, it didnít make me feel cheated like most games do.

Though I had hoped Angelo and Jessica would hook up, OR that Angelo would realize his feelings for the Hero (And vice-versa~) and theyíd run off together.. Ehehe. My (not so) inner fangirl would have liked that. ;D

Love, Lilly~

Sean

I liked how the ending changed based on how much of the bonus stuff you did. I enjoyed it very much, too. Thanks for writing in, Lilly!



QUICKIES

Hi Matt,
I like talking about the mechanics of games, and seeing different people's opinions on what they like or don't like about games. It's better than talking about what actually happens within the game (unless that's why they dis/like it!) or what should be done in the future. So I like questions like your numerical scale, or challenge, for example.
-Kharamain

Sean
I always discuss mechanics like this too. One of the big joys about MMOs is the mechanic discussions I have with my friends and brother. MMOs don't have strong story ties and no one really cares about the quests, but everyone cares about how it is played. For example, status effects are necessary to use in Final Fantasy XI, but not so in other FFs, or other MMOs.



IN CLOSING

I have been trying to convince myself to see Stardust for a while, but I don't like to see movies alone. Oh well, I will be off to see the late showing tonight after this column. I don't feel like playing Overlord tonight anyways.

I've been asked a couple times about my backlog, and why I talk about it in the way I do. You might think me to be crazy, but my backlog is counted to be about... 65 games. I don't see how I will ever have time to finish them all. How big is your backlog, and what limits do you set for it? What is the RPG to non-RPG ratio? Before I got my PSP and PS3, I had reduced the list to under 30 games... I'll have more on this tomorrow... ^^;

Peace out!



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: Not enough, sadly.



gorne@rpgamer.com
Sean is a heavy wine cooler drinker


Wow, someone does read this.

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