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ASK SEAN
Column 13: Packed Weekend Ahead
September 14th, 2007

Sean - 9:19pm EDT

Well, you know the drill by now. I will put the dates and times that I actually wrote the column at. Of course, I won't post them until they are supposed to go up, which happens to be late morning on both Saturday and Sunday, and lunch to early evening on Monday (as I have a day job).

Last Monday, minutes after the column went up, I got a call from EB and I was told that they had a copy of Wild Arms 5 for me. Ecstatic, I picked it up after dropping off my girlfriend after work (yes, we work together). I love it. Why? Combat is fast, the cutscenes are exactly as I like them, and there is a large world map to explore. And yes, there is Rebecca. And really good music to boot.

Even with that purchase under my belt, and the game living in my PS2, I do not really plan on playing it this weekend. Why? Heavenly Sword. Yes, I know it is short--all that means is that I can actually finish it this weekend! Otherwise, my copy of The Orc King by Salvatore came in and I need to start reading it.

In other news, I think I will be putting together a staff review for Dragoneer's Aria. Word on IRC is that the game has an impossible boss, or impossiboss as it has been called. Said boss has so far beaten me once--I vow to slay him and continue the valiant quest to the end of this possible train wreck of a game. That is the weekend objective #3.

Let's get to the letters!




LETTERS
Confusion is my ally--especially on term papers!


Hi Sean,

OK so your contest has me happily confused this morning, honestly it's an amazing feeling on a Monday morning at work. Especially when I forgot my work keys at home, and so I can't use my laptop, email or intranet..lucky I have the internet so I can send you this email instead of, well.. you know.

Sean

Sounds like my usual Monday mornings. Walk into the office... and play server lottery. Which ones are up and which are down? There have been some very interesting Mondays...

Since you started the Q&A what caught my eye is that your Canadian and play lotro (and if I remember correctly you really enjoyed ffxi). I'm playing lotro too (and I loved ffxi!!)!! Oh and the Canadian bit, well yea I live in Ottawa and it's nice to see Canadians on the rpgamer qna. Montreal is an awesome city! So what lotro server are you on? I'm on the one that starts with the letter A..what is it..Arkenstone I think. I'm playing a now 29 Elf Hunter and really enjoying the game. I love how the book quest series create an actual story in this MMO, so much better so than WoW, I rarely feel like I'm grinding unless I'm working on my deeds. And it's much easier to play this game without devoting every waking hour, like I was with FFXI...as amazing as the game was, I just can't keep up with it any more. Anyhow if your on the same server maybe we can do a dungeon or something some time, my character's name is Marsharan.

Sean

Ummm yeah. Matt is Canadian too. He is in Guelph right now, but from some place called Chatham or something like that.

I play on Landroval. I have a level 22 dorf guardian named Gorne. See my pic? That's me. I run a small (three person at the moment) guild called Crimson Twilight. Anyone can join. Hint, hint!

Yes, the big draw of non-FFXI MMOs is the pick-up-and-play feeling that you get. Everything in FFXI was a total timesink and it feels good to be away from it. As some of you know, some people have tried to get me to go back... and I always considered it. But, I just couldn't do it. As fun as the game was, I remember a lot of pain too. That and I prefer spending time with my girlfriend than with that game.

And a quick question, should I buy a wii and get Metroid Prime 3 or should I play star ocean 3 first? In your opinion..

Sean

Play Star Ocean 3 as you already bought it. I wouldn't buy a Wii just for Metroid Prime 3. Wait until there are a few games you want and you might just end up saving a few dollars. I have two decent ones for the Wii, but the rest I didn't like as much.

Thanks for writing in!



Because new kids are ALWAYS cool. Unless they are me.


Sean,

There have been some times in which I have wondered why someone joins your party. I mean does it make sense for anyone that you meet to join the party? Like that one guy (Armant I think) from FFIX, I never really did understand why he join. Plus why would a experenced soldier join a 16 year old boy and defer to him.? Shouldn't the old more experenced pne be leading the team? To be honest that was my problem with FFXII, I always kinda wondered what Vann was doing there? At least in Persona 3 and Tales of the Abyss there was a good reason as to why people were following you around. Well, except again P3 has the problem of the new kid showing up and every one saying "Ok he is the boss now." Oh well, these are the thing that we have to put up with for our favorite genre of games.

Sean

Yep, we have been putting up with it for a while now. In Amarant's case, didn't he feel shame for losing to the "boy" and then take it up as a matter of honor to follow him and protect him? That is at least my view on things. Vaan isn't the leader of the group--Ashe most definitely is. He just happens to be the one from whose viewpoint you see the story.

As for my backlog... well it used to be quite small. But it is getting bigger all the time and with getting a Xbox 360 here soon I think that it is about to get bigger. Bioshock here I come. I was wondering what you think is the most ridiculas thing that you have ever had to do to advance your stroyline in a rpg? I think that Clouds dressing up as a girl and the wolfs "Metal Gear Shadow Hearts" moment and Shadow Hearts: Coventant are some of my top ones.

ArkadySmile

Sean

My backlog is pitiful apparently. Wait until you see the numbers I will be showing you in the coming days...

I don't recall the most ridiculous thing I have had to do to advance a story. Cross-dressing is always fun, but aside from the Cloud moment you mentioned, I can't recall any. I do hate games that force you to go to certain places to advance the story. Not interesting places mind you, but I mean walking by the left side of a barn. The right side doesn't work at all. If you don't hit that one square inch of ground, the story doesn't continue. I hate those.

Thanks for the letter!



Well met, Chris. Now gimme a cookie.


Sean,

I usually write to Matt, but since heís "retiring", I should write to you as well and introduce myself. My name is Chris-..thatís all youíre getting,lol. Let me answer some of your topics.

Sean

He isn't retiring. It is a lie to build up hype. At least I hope it is.

1) I have been confused on why some people join your party in RPGís. I donít have a specific memory right now, but it does sometimes feel like those characters are just thrown at you to give you a bigger party and make the game a little easier.

Sean

Or to make you feel like you have a party to play with.

2) I really want to pick up Brave Story. Iíve heard a lot of good things about it and it seems right up my alley. My question to you is: How is the story line?

Sean

It is a little light-hearted with dark undertones. As the main character is a gamer, you should expect some modern day comments, even from those that shouldn't be making them. The game does have some mature themes though. The characters are a lot of fun.

3) Canít answer about Two-Swords although the game looks intriguing.

Sean

My desire to try it has shrunk to near zero.

4) Vaan in FFXII-.*waits for grunts and groans* I feel given the beginning of the game Ashe should have been the main character. But then again I didnít care much for the game. Just my own opinion.

Sean

Yeah, yeah I heard it all before. I too think he is a little weak as a lead, but once again, Ashe is the real star, and we all know it. Does anyone dare to disagree with me?

5) My backlog? Extremely scary. I donít have a set backlog, but holy cow if I was to play all of my games it would be well over 100 titles long. For you see I have that horrible habit of buying games when they first come out-.well not anymore. Money constraints. But my back log is gi-normous.

Sean

That is my problem too. Would anyone be interested in me posting said backlog tracker?

Also, In your opinion, What RPG should I play? I was thinking something a little "old school". I pretty much have all RPGís for the older systems but I need something to really suck me in. I just finished DQ8 and Iím playing Persona 3(I am enjoying it), but kind of in that 5-6 hour not sure stage. Iím sure you and other rpg fans know what I am talking about. I am kind of leaning towards, Skies of Arcadia for GC, or Shadow Hearts for PS2. Little help.

~Chris~

Sean

Amongst those choices, Skies of Arcadia should be your choice. Or... Brave Story? They both feel old school to me. If you haven't tried it yet, Wild Arms 5 is excellent so far. Thanks for writing in!



Yes, Wild Arms for me!


Sean,

Good luck tracking down a copy of Wild Arms 5.

Sean

No luck needed. I just know the right people in the video game retail industry.

That really confirms the method to my madness to cancel my Metroid preorder, get WA5 with all its first run goodies, then get Metroid this month knowing it'll still be on shelves. The Gamestop clerk gave me a crazy look when I did all this. Hope you get a copy with the glossy box and art book. It's pretty cool.

Sean

Yep, but the art book disappointed me. I should have made the same choice as you did.

Oh, and I also have a reason to be weird like you.

Since past characters make cameos, I now have to make sure to finish all other Wild Arms games so I can know who everyone is. WA4 is the only one I've finished, so I've got my work cut out for me.

Jonezy

Sean

I played 1-3, and skipped 4 and Alter Code F. I didn't mind missing the references. I'll just play 4 eventually. I think I will rethink my weirdness in light of this.

Thanks for writing in, Jonezy.



Swearing in games


Hi Matt.

Persona 3 has a lot of cursing in it. No F-words (so far, that I noticed) but a lot of "shit". Strangely, when a certain character misses, it cries out "you son of a..." without actually saying "bitch". The game is already rated M, what the difference? I like it when games use curse words simply because it makes dialogs seem more natural.

Sean

Yeah, that would be like how I speak in natural conversation. As long as it is not overdone, it is ok. And Persona is about high school kids and swearing is normal in such places.

Also, if you don't know it, there's a freeware game called Knytt Stories (for PC). It's a lot of fun, you can design your own levels and it certainly has RPGish elements. Have you ever fully played freeware RPGs? Personally I haven't. I suppose no one was around to point me in the right direction.

Lastly, Yasunori Mitsuda rules, as does Hitoshi Sakimoto.

Zohar Gilboa

Sean

Nope, I tend to play commercial games. I don't care much for half-finished games. And... I don't have a clue who those two are--I have little memory for Japanese names. Yes, I know it is bad. Thanks for writing in Zohar!



Yes, Mass Effect looks good


Hey-o Matt,

Glad I was missed.

Sean

Sean. S-E-A-N. That is me. Not M-A-T-T. I think you get the point. Ok, so I stole some of his letters? So what? It's not as if his backlog isn't big enough without them!

Yeah Breath of Fire isn't one of the biggest names out there. Though I still think that BoF5: Dragon Quarter, is one of the best, if not the best RPG on PS2.

Sean

Amazing. It is awesome.

As to gaming schedule I generally can game whenever I want. I have a full time job that I travel for on occasion. So I have a DS Lite and play games on that when away from home. At home I can play whenever cause it's my home. I actually find the biggest draw from my videogame time is hanging with my friends. Which is good cause I like my friends. Also we play games together as a group. Shadow of the Colossus was a game I played while everyone else called me a horrible person for destroying unique forms of life. My girlfriend played through Fatal Frame 1&2. We've been made to watch the wonder of Shadow Hearts 2's pro-wrestling arena. It's all good fun. But rpgs aren't always the best choice for this, so I end up playing those on my own the most.

Sean

It is usually the case with RPGs. They tend to be solo experiences. My siblings used to watch me play them, but no more. Sometimes a few minutes, but not much.

I really need to start hammering on the backlog though. Cause the holiday season is almost here and if I don't get to it I'm gonna get swamped again. But Mass Effect looks so good.

Oh, of note I'm pissed that Square-Enix is putting the FF:Tactics remake on PSP. I have no desire to give Sony my money for either their handheld or their PS3. Square and I might be ending up separating after all these years because the refuse to stop hanging with the popular kid.

Sean

Last Remnant is on the 360 and the PS3. SE is just following through on a contract and releasing the game they promised they would. And... the PS3 will drop in price soon enough, and with the games that will be out by then, it might just be a viable purchase. Me, I am already happy with my PS3, more or less.

Wait...DS, Wii & 360 are all more popular than the Sony systems....what the hell is going on?

Ken

Sean

But none of them have Brave Story. I am really impressed with a lot of the PSP offerings. And of course, Crisis Core has me drooling in anticipation. I need to play that one. In any case, in today's world, we need to make choices about the systems we purchase. Not everyone can afford everything every generation... Even though I might.

Thanks for writing in Ken!



QUICKIES

Hey Sean,
I have a different take on unwinnable battles. Have you ever been in a battle where you are totally destroying the boss and he is barely touching you, but all of a sudden the fight ends and all of your characters are saying stuff like, "Oh, No! He is too powerful!" and the boss is saying, "You are like nothing compared to me!"? I hate those, because I'm left thinking, "No! Keep fighting! I can totally take this guy!" It's like the developers decided to throw in an unwinnable battle, but forgot to make the battle seem desperate.
Draconn

Sean
Yeah, I get you on this one. I hate those too. Especially when I am at full health when it happens. At least Wild Arms 5 got it right--the unwinnable fights just hand you your rear on a platter.

HEY SEAN!
How do you define backlog? Games you've bought but haven't played? Or does it also include games you haven't bought yet (and may never do so...)
In my backlog (using the former definition) I only have about four games, all in various stages of completion.
Carabbit

Sean
The former for sure. A backlog always sits on or around your shelves. I envy you, believe it or not. And... too many line breaks, but nice try!



IN CLOSING

JuMeSyn! Pick a prize! I will keep this section short for today--I need to get to my planned events soon, or I might go insane. Class just does that to me.

Hint: Entice me tomorrow. The first letter I pick and post will be lucky indeed. I will pick said letter at... oh... 9pm EDT, but maybe a bit later.

Peace out!



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: Enough to get through a weekend



gorne@rpgamer.com
Sean is happy that at least one class looks easy


Pepperoni and Mushroom. Preferably a pan pizza too. And greasy is key.

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