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ASK SEAN
Column 34: Skunk Invasion
November 7th, 2007

Sean - 4:17pm EDT

Well, today sees very few letters, which is all good in my eyes, for the past couple of days have been no picnic. To make a long story short, I spent all of last night in the hospital with my girlfriend (and never did get to see a doctor). On top of that, a family of skunks moved in next door and somehow my basement smells like them now. They must have sprayed into a window that my dad had left open to "freshen up" the room.

The smell in the basement is getting to me, so I won't clutter up the column too much. I had intended to talk a bit about Monster Hunter Freedom 2, but that will need to wait for later.

So, what is in the letter bag today?




LETTERS
Welcome back, JuMeSyn! Too bad the links had to come with you!


Sean, how's it going? I finally feel ready to compose a letter of the accustomed length for you, and thus must begin with something musical. Since Galbadia Hotel is currently freezing Firefox much of the time I'll give you something very different: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XYAJV5KcaM Never mind how I came to like Patricia Kaas, the probability is not small that I'm introducing you to her for the first time. Translations are welcome as my French is very paltry.

Sean

I did not like that song. I need to not listen to any more of her songs. "Where are the men?" is what she keeps asking...

I do in fact possess a shiny new computer now, and having 8 times as much RAM is amazingly helpful for a variety of functions. Unfortunately all the data from my old computer appears to be lost unless I feel like sending the hard drive to be dissected in a cold room. I did want quite a bit of that data, but not enough to pay quadruple digit fees for it. So in the interest of reconstructing my music library shall my time generally be directed in the near future.

Sean

That sucks, man. Data recovery from dead disks is always expensive.

It's a strange thing. I'm certain that soon enough I'll recover my acumen for playing through games in a blitz, but currently I'm not playing much save Phoenix Wright. Still, Final Fantasy V Advance has quite a bit of material for discussion.

Such as this: somehow or other I managed to have everyone just about maxed in Job mastery by the time I mustered the gumption to finish the game. So horribly did I overlevel the Jobs that Neo Exdeath died in a couple of minutes and I did not need to heal at all. Whoops. Omega kicked me to the dirt though.

Sean

It is funny that you said that. My boss did exactly the same thing. He walked over Omega too, though.

Now, my understanding is that in Advance several Jobs I found near the end are new, and I feel it necessary to give a quick accounting of them. The Cannoneer has a reasonably powerful attack that hits back rows for the same damage and can apparently buy some ingredients to make this attack stronger and hit everything. It also has an ability that increases experience yield by 50%. A useful class, though not exceptional.

The Oracle is odd. Its in-battle abilities cause enemies to suffer damage after a countdown similar to Doom, though the amount of time needed varies. The attacks are multifaceted but rarely all that powerful compared to something similar from another class. One incredibly handy ability this class carries however: ABP UP. This increases by 50% the job points earned in combat.

As for the Gladiator, it's a powerful fighting class that can equip quite a bit of weaponry. What differentiates it from other hardy physical classes would be its Finisher command: this either fails, produces a powerful critical attack, or an Elemental attack that does 9999 damage. Omega soaked that 9999 up as healing, but every other enemy I threw it against had a very rough time indeed.

Sean

I did try them out when I played the game. I never liked the Oracle, but the other two I used a lot. Wait until you get to the Necromancer...

What else... my next console item will probably be on the Saturn, and I think the Samurai Shodown RPG ought to prove interesting. I didn't play the fighting games much but recognize their basic elements. Naturally the game is in Japanese, which by now doesn't bother me much. Several games I've played in Japanese had such trite and predictable stories that I figured them out even through the language barrier. That probably won't happen with Samurai Shodown.

I only have two systems left to relate the itineraries for, the Genesis and Saturn. Both of them will take awhile and I'm rather tired, so I beg your pardon for delaying the unveiling. I do hope this is not an unbearable disappointment.

JuMeSyn

Sean

I hope that game is good. I've heard good things about that series. And just so you know, your backlog stories scare me. Thanks for the letter, JuMeSyn! Make sure to play more games... I am still waiting for your views on Enchanted Arms!



If the PS3 has no emotions, does it lack a soul?


Heya Sean,

Guess it's time for me to write in for the first time, instead of just lurking the column. Recently my time for playing RPGs went up again, so that also means I have more time to check RPGamer (and to write letters!).

The backwards compatibility seems to be a hot issue right now. We had the same issue over here in Europe at launch, since we had a crippled, Emotion Engine-less PS3 to start with. It seems to have died down now though, with people just accepting that they'll have to live with software emulation. I thought about buying a PS3 half a year ago (I didn't have a PS2 yet, shame on me), but decided to just go with a PS2 and not bother with BC. At least this makes it easier for me to play imported games, because I'm not too sure about how this works on a PS3.

Sean

See below: someone answers that particular question.

Cosplaying has been a pretty big thing in my life, even with us Dutchies not celebrating Halloween (which is a shame). Being pretty into the anime-convention scene means I'm usually surrounded by people who like to cosplay. I myself tried it once one and a half year ago (Genis Sage, Tales of Symphonia) and it was quite fun. Even sewing it was fun, with me having no experience whatsoever. You should try it yourself sometime, instead of trying to shove the work on your mom (although it is a huge timesink, and will certainly eat away your RPG-time).

Sean

I am lazy like that. I have no skill and my mom is practically a pro.

Now for something else. My first RPG ever was Secret of Mana, which I used to play together with a friend of mine. It is actually one of the few RPGs with a multiplayer-mode that actually involves doing something. Few games have followed this splendid example, that, in my opinion, makes a game much more fun. Some have tried (I recall being able to split control of characters in battle in Tales of Symphonia) but few really involve the people playing with you. FF: Crystal Chronicles is one of the few RPGs that is actually fun to play with multiple players, but this game is handicapped by it's weak single player mode. Moogles just aren't made for carrying chalices...

Sean

And, some players weren't meant to carry chalices either. I was always stuck with the damn thing, as my friends refused to be bothered with it. I played Secret of Mana with my brother and a friend. It was an amazing experience.

That's why Secret of Mana is still at the top of my list, even after all those years. I have high expectations for the upcoming FF:CC titles, but I doubt they'll ever be able to beat the nostalgic feeling I have for SoM. (On a side note, it's a shame they never released Seiken Densetsu 3 here.) In essence, RPGs with a sophisticated multiplayer-mode score high on my list, but this should not go at the expense of the story and gameplay in singleplayer. What do you think about this?

Guess it's time for me to go back to DQ VIII. I should be near the end, but the music is really boring me out of my skull...

Rutto

Sean

Don't let Matt hear you, Rutto! A good multiplayer mode is a good addition, provided you have the friends to play it with (look at my Untold Legends review). Being a loner gamer, single player modes tend to be more important, so I stress the importance of that mode more. What do you all think, readers? Thanks for writing in!



QUICKIES

Hey Sean:
Just wanted to mention the ps3 does have regional locks on ps2 and ps1 games. The ps3 games and only ps3 games are region-free.

Sean
That sucks! I am going back to my original comment then: lack of BC doesn't bother me at all.

Sean - just wanted to point out, in response to FirstAid's letter, that the PS3 is region free for games BUT the regions still apply for PS1/2 games.

Sean
Dan beat you to it, but thanks anyways! ^_^



IN CLOSING

The smell is getting to me, so I need to evacuate before I get sick. Sorry about that--the next column will be on Friday, courtesy of my class!

Enjoy the next few days!



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Sean doesn't like skunks.


Apparently I chose to sit in the skunk stink over playing MHF2...

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