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ASK SEAN
Column 33: Anticipation
November 5th, 2007

Sean - 4:29pm EDT

The weekend was a lazy one for me. I took Sasturday off, and worked for only eight hours on Sunday. I coded up my whole project--well almost the whole thing. There are still a few bugs to iron out, but that is what my group members are for! I needed to impliment Implicit Invocation using Java. This wasn't as easy as expected, but I still managed to pull it off. It was kind of like doing regular event handling, but removing the language's ability to do it automatically. Well, it is done now, and I will stop boring y'all with the details.

Taking the time off that I did, I had plenty of time to play games. Each deserves its own paragraph. To start off, I played Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East. It was fun enough until I got to the second mission in the third campaign. I took to the sea and a new enemy spawned in that completely wiped me off the map. It was unexpected, and I put the game away for a while.

In Guild Wars I "retired" my Mesmer. I decided to play my Monk instead, as she was already level 20 with a nice selection of skills and a complete set of high level equipment. That and she is a much funner character to play. I had to run her back to the beginning of the game to catch up to where my previous character was (and I would like some "free" skill points).

I tried out Monster Hunter Freedom 2 at the suggestion of our beloved forum admin, Jeffrey. The game is fun, but I spend way too much time trying to figure out the controls. The load times are nasty and the difficulty is a little high for my liking. I plan to play the game in spurts, as I could never see myself having the attention span to play it all at once. It is just too frustrating for that. I am currently using Sword and Shield, and it is the only weapon I care to use (and like). Would I recommend it to anyone? No, not yet anyways.

Finally, I picked up and tried the Witcher. I am only a couple hours in, but man am I ever impressed! It is so much fun! The loading times are awful, but the game is still worth playing. The combat in the game is hectic, but a lot of fun! The over-the-shoulder viewpoint lends the game an air of excitement. Expect a review of this game!

So, what is in the letter bag today?




LETTERS
A whip sword? I need to see that!


Hi Sean,

You asked for Halloween themed letters, so I decided to write in. This is my first time writing in to you as QA host. I've been a long time follower of the site since the days of Josh and Thor but rarely if ever write in. Nowadays, the site is part of my Monday morning routine to get me awake (great distraction during morning staff telecons).

Sean

Do you read all the columns on a Monday morning, or just the last one? I am curious, as I used to do the same thing. Anyways, thanks for writing in!

When I was younger I dressed up as characters such as FFI's White Wizard (not Mage) sans Kabuki Quantum Fighter style red hair, and FFVI's Locke. However life came along, and I quit celebrating Halloween for a great span of years.

Last year a friend brought me to Anime Expo for the first time. Seeing all the fabulous cosplays there really inspired me into dressing up as video game characters again, as I'm more of a RPG fan than anime fan.

Halloween has since become a proving ground for cosplay builds. Come time around Halloween, it's safe to say I spend more time on cosplay builds than playing RPGs. That's not to say they don't get their share of OC gaming devotion, when their time slot in the day comes about, just they're not a priority.

Sean

I've tried to get people to make me some cosplay costumes, but it has never worked out. My mom just doesn't want to spend the time to make me one, even when I hinted that it would make an awesome birthday gift. I always blamed it on her being lazy.

Currently, I'm working on an incredibly obscure Japanese PC RPG named Dinosaur, a "serious" dungeon crawler by Falcom, that is stylistically similar to Arcana (SNES), that I decided to try out due to morbid curiosity and a highly humorous, if not entertaining, article over at Hardcore Gaming 101. Of all the first person dungeon crawlers I've ever tried, Dinosaur Resurrection, is the lightest, most user friendly one yet. Like the article said, the game really has nothing to do with Dinosaurs, or, for that matter, shirtless guys with gargantuan axes half sitting on chains as the box art for the Windows remake would lead you to believe. :) Don't let that scare you away! It features a variety of Falcom synth, and amenities such as save anywhere that no game should be without, and quick paced battles and movement much less disorienting than any FPS, and thus is great to relax to while waiting for things to dry such as hair, spiking glue, lotion, cleaned wounds, paint, etc. The character dialog also seems quite amusing/sarcastic if not even off key at times considering their situation. Then again, it could be due to me getting the Japanese wrong.

Sean

Interesting. I never felt the desire to play an RPG in Japanese. I wouldn't be able to play the game while reading a script. I just couldn't.

Anyways, back to Halloween. Last year I dressed up as Sephiroth, not the moody AC version that you can actually purchase commercially, negating all challenge whatsoever, but the original FFVII version for the ridiculously spiked bangs and clean cut style. I even ended up making a 74" con safe masamune that was longer than I am tall, and quite a challenge to transport.

This year, not wanting to have to deal with detangling Sephiroth's hair ever again, I decided to turn a new leaf and do a non FF related cosplay with short hair (which would later come to back to haunt me). Being as Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest was what drew me into RPGs in the first place, I decided to make a Dragon Quest costume.

Sean

I want that masamune. Isn't it a tradition to always create different costumes every year? My ex used to make costumes, but would never wear the same one twice.

As far as DQ costumes go, DQVIII's Hero seems to be the most popular, so I specifically chose something less mainstream. Instead, I settled on something that brought on major nostalgia -- Hyunkel from anime Dragon Quest -- Dai no Daibouken, unreleased in English except for partial fansub, with manga available in !French! however. The Japanese sure have a penchant for coming up with the strange character names, don't they? He's not much of a hunk, or bishie for that matter, but he does have white hair. In the anime, he is the general of the Big Bad's undead division. (In Japanese culture, white has a connotation for the supernatural, which is why we see so many baddies with white hair. In Chinese culture, it's taken one step further, in that the term for someone 'white' is composed of characters literally meaning "ghost person". So, along those lines, a white haired, supernaturally aligned person is more than fitting for Halloween.)

The build is only partially complete but good enough to look impressive, considering I donít expect anyone to recognize the character. The choice of a short haired character turned out to be a challenge on par with a character with long hair, as I have so much hair that it takes nothing short of a miracle to fully get it into such a short haired wig. Originally, I was planning to have at least one (of three) sets of pauldrons done, but I ended up losing a couple days due to fire evacuation (which also caused me to realize how much of a backlog of console RPGs I've got, including the discovery of a few RPGs I never knew I had o_O). Still missing are some upper vambraces, thigh plates, the three sets of pauldrons, a helmet with retractable face guard strong enough to grasp a !sword!, and of course the sword itself, a whip sword that can straighten into a rapier. Well, needless to say, I'm still thinking about how to build all that... :) But, hey, I've still got a good 9 months to work it out.

Sean

I thought the whole point of cosplay was to make a costume that was good enough to be recognized as the character you are trying to represent. You do know that I need pictures of that costume, don't you? I want to see the whip sword!

Almost forgot - the question. Have you ever jumped through hoops to import a game based on sheer curousity caused by an amusing review (regardless of whether the game has groundbreaking features or not)?

If you got this far, thanks for reading, Sean.

Cheers,

-Yakim "really needs to get back to finishing Valkyrie Profile 2" Douan

Sean

I've only ever imported two games: Bleach: Heat the Soul 4 and Bleach: The Shattered Blade. I never got to play the latter until I picked up the US version, but I enjoyed the former for several hours. Not knowing what I am doing is definitely a turn-off for me though. Otherwise, I kinda want Crisis Core, but I am willing to wait for the US release.

You don't need questions to write in! But, thanks for it anyways, Yakim! Write in more often, please!



Tales spoilers: beware!


Sean,

(*some Tales of Destiny and Symphonia spoilers*) About what you said last Monday about wanting to play a version of FFVII where you play from Sephiroth's perspective, I also think that that would be a wonderful idea. Not only would the opportunity to see the game's events from Sephiroth's viewpoint, and seeing HIS internal identity struggles and monologue, be awesome, but it also wouldn't be the blasphemous FFVII remake that fanboys would hate so much, because it doesn't actually recount the same story, per say; as it would be from such a radically different perspective, it would seem all new. It doesn't even have to have the gameplay, as Crisis Core shows.

Sean

I would like it too. But wouldn't fanboys want a FFVII remake? I thought they did, anyways!

Now this whole concept kind of similar to what the new version of Tales of Destiny is going to have, giving you the option to actually play as Leon being the main character instead of Stahn. IMO, this is a fantastic idea. Not only is Leon a character that I really like, but I would love to see more of what he was thinking throughout the game, what his take was on everything that was going on, how he was being affected by it all, and gain some insight as to why he eventually does what he comes to do late in the game. I think the same can be said of ANY traitorous characters in an RPG.

Sean

I don't remember who Leon is, but it still sounds kind of nifty. I hope we get this remake! I've always wanted to replay this game!

In a related example, take Zelos in Tales of Symphonia. I know that LOTS of complex things went on in his life before you meet him (he reveals some of this if you get him to trust you enough). He too could betray you late in the game, but just like with Leon, I feel like I didn't understand why he felt like he needed to betray us while I was fighting him. I would liked to have known what was going on in the inner depths of his mind throughout the game to lead him to this decision, and know how his past caused him to think the way that he does. For any traitorous RPG character, or even RPG villain, the concept of releasing an alternate version of the game with a story that focuses on THAT character instead holds tremendous potential IMO.

Sean

Or at least include a special sequence like they did with Suikoden 3. Being able to see the events from Luc's perspective was just priceless.

I for one would love to see this concept extended to other games and become a new trend. So other than FFVII, what other games would you like to see receive this treatment?

Sean

I would love to play as Golbez and maybe a Kefka origin story. These would be fun and are a good start.

On Sony removing BC from the new PS3's, I'm mostly just... confused by it. Do they really, truly and honestly believe that gamers would rather have 20 extra GB of storage and a couple of Blu-Ray movies, over complete backwards compatibility gaming? If so, then they need new PR advisors in their gaming division, ones who actually know what gamers want! Eh, okay, to be politically correct, maybe there are some gamers out there who are happy with the decision, but I'm certainly not one of them. It especially hurts for me, because I've been planning to start importing PS1 and PS2 games from Japan to play. A PS3 that was region-free AND backwards compatible allows me to play those games. But now with software emulation replacing the Emotion Engine, that's no longer possible. This why I said this was a really hard sting to me in particular. I guess I'll have to mod my PS2 after all.

Sean

I guess for some it is just a suicide move on their part. I didn't know the PS3 would play Japanese PS1 and PS2 games as well. That is intriguing. This may in fact be a bad decision now...

I'm just wondering, being Canadian and not being a big hockey fan, does that have any ramifications on your social life?

FirstAid

Sean

People look at me weird, but it is not any different from gamers that know I don't play FPS or sports games. I get an equal amount of scorn from both. Thanks for writing in, FirstAid!



Take your time with the name...


Wut it do Sean,

So I'm still working on a pimpin nickname for you. I'm hoping to find something that will incorporate Gorne much like Matt's Filmore Slime but so far no luck. I even tried watching Willie Dynamite for inspiration, but nothing. Oh well, the muses are fickle and work on their own time.

I'm thinking about travelling the PS3 route myself so the backwards compatability issue definitely interests me. I've still got some time to look into it as I felt the need to get a hdtv first so I'm temporarily broke. However I'm fairly certain I read on Penny Arcade that you could use a usb hard drive with the PS3. I'll have to look into it but if that's the case I'll definitley try to get the model with the emotion engine built in. After all it's only like a 20 gig difference in memory and if I recall correctly, a hundred dollar difference in price. You can get 500 gigs for about $150 now. Of course I still mght just say screw it and get an Xbox 360 instead.

Sean

You can always pull out the PS3 hard drive and replace it with a laptop hard drive. I am not too sure how easy it is to use a USB drive--I will need to play around with my PS3 one day!

Also, I too like the idea of a Heroes RPG. I was thinking that in these recent episodes they seem to have glossed over a lot of Hiro's adventures with Takezo Kensei. So maybe they could do a game covering that whole backstory. They've already got three characters right there with Takezo, Hiro, and whatzername that they're helping. I read in the new ESPN magazine that Miyamato Mushashi (the guy who wrote the Book of Five Rings, sort of like a cross between Sun Tzu's Art of War and Bruce Lee's Tao of Jeet Kune Do) was traditionally believed to be able to control opponents minds so maybe they could work him in some how.

Sean

That could be an episode in an episodic story. I would miss Sylar too much!

Ooh, ooh, I just thought of an actual question since you're a PC gamer. Did you ever do the City Of Heroes/Villains thing? And if so was it any good? I don't do the PC gaming thing myself(closest I ever got was being the official cartographer for my Dad and his friend while they played the original Wizardry when I was a kid)but that one was really tempting me to give it a try for awhile and I'm still kinda curious. Well I guess that's all I've got for now.

Hasta La Bye Bye,

Kezzy

Sean

I never tried that game, or wanted to. I don't have the same interest in super heroes as many others do. I like the heroes from Heroes, but they just seem a little more believable. I do like super hero movies though, but mostly because of the shiny effects.

Thanks for writing in, Kezzy!



Tonberries just don't look scary...


Dear Sean

First off, I want to say you are doing a great job as the q and a guy. I enjoy the letters and responses you supply. Yes, I have cosplayed from a rpg. I have been Tonberry and Marlboro from Final Fantasy. I have been Yuber from Suikoden ((Sadly, I don't have a picture of it)) I have two costumes in the works for this year. A mimic box and Sphinx from Magirangers. So, yay for being broke and crazy. Hmm...the first rpg I have ever played was Shadow in The Darkness on Sega Genesis. I didn't get truly hook onto the role playing games until FF8. I played FF7 before hand and I hated the game. I wanted to hang Cloud from the tall building and leave him. I think what got me was the opening sequence of FF8...talk about wow. Sometimes, I still pop in my disc just so I could watch the sequence over again.

Sean

That sequence was cool, I must admit. And kudos on the costumes! Next time... go as a slime!

I'm slightly put off with Sony for removing backward comparability. But I might bite the bullet and buy one sooner or later. I am a huge fan of the Ratchet and Clank series. I want the game so bad. Just seeing the commercials makes me cry. Stupid Tuition.

Question: What game should I get for the Wii? Paper Mario or Super Mario Galaxy.

Mouse

P.S: I attach a picture of me as Tonberry. ^.^ Enjoy.

Sean

I bought the bullet and Ratchet and Clank. I still haven't played it. I didn't much like Super Paper Mario, so I will recommend Super Mario Galaxy, as the intial reviews make it sound really good. I might need to bite that bullet too! The Tonberry costumes looks hot and heavy. I don't think that I could survive in that one for long. Thanks for sharing, Mouse!



I told you so!


Hey-o Sean,

Well as I mentioned before I finally beat FF1 and began trying FF2. It was part of my grand scheme to assault my backlog in order of release. While I might not know the exact dates a rough guess is usually close enough.

You warned me. I felt it only fair to inform you that my plan has failed. Partly due to outside influences, but failed it has.

Final Fantasy 2 has the most backwards nonsensical leveling system I've ever seen. Well outside of a Saga Frontier game anyway. I tried to get into it and just play, but the frustrating mechanics prevented me from enjoying it. I tried a couple of the level guides for gaining HP and Magic early but that turns out to be extremely boring, repetitive and meritless. You might have warned me about that as well.

Sean

I warned you. I saw your decision from a mile away! It was the same thoughts I felt the first time I played it. A few years later I just powered through that game.

So I said to hell with that game and started up the original Legend of Zelda. Another classic which I have never played through to completion. I blazed through the first dungeon and was feeling pretty good about my choice. I marched to the second dungeon and began my assault. And for some reason I cannot comprehend I died. Over and over I marched in and met Link's doom. After about four tries I called it quits.

Sean

You get right back to Zelda and finish it! Do not quit on that awesome game. You need to play it through to the end. I command it.

Frustrated at my cursing of the gods my girlfriend walked over grabbed a game and put it in the PS2. She tossed me the controller and said, "You're playing this now, stop whining."

Turns out I'm playing Rogue Galaxy. It's actually been quite fun so far and I'm still really early in the game. I'd love to shoot the backwards people of the jungle planet in the face for their stupidity. Apparently that's not allowed though.

So, while I'm still on the backlog, my plan to go at the games in order of age has failed. You were correct, Sir, and I should have heeded your wisdom.

No I have to go hunt some monsters,

Ken

Sean

I would really like to revel in the loss of your commitment, but I can't bring myself to do it. Just do like I do--play the first thing that comes to mind, and when it doesn't, just take the oldest thing in the pile. It hasn't failed me yet! Good luck, Ken!



QUICKIES

Not ready to compose a long letter yet, but thought to pose another mildly intriguing idea. Awhile back I put up an editorial espousing a TMNT RPG. Think it has merit?
JuMeSyn

Sean
A TMNT RPG? Why not? The Shredder would need to be playable though. I didn't read the editorial though...

I contacted Square-Enix asking when they were considering another iTunes release and the representative promptly told me that sort of thing was almost entirely out of their company's hands. Considering what slim pickings we tend to get with domestic soundtrack releases, am I out of place asking to pay for legally downloadable Masashi Hamauzu works from something main-stream like Dirge of Cerberus?

Sean
I guess not. Can't you just get this stuff off ebay, or specialty sites like AnimeNation?



IN CLOSING

Today's title refers to my desire to play the Witcher, which will happen as soon as this column gets posted. So without further ado...

Enjoy the next few days! But then again... maybe I am referring to something else?



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 0



gorne@rpgamer.com
Sean is in need of some PC-gaming goodness!


So many games too play and not enough time to play them all... The story of my life.

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