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ASK SEAN
Column 45: The Weather Outside is Frightful
December 19th, 2007

Sean - 4:52pm EDT

Nothing much has happened for me in the past couple of days that is really worth remarking upon. Well, I did catch a little cold, but other than getting a little more sleep, it hasn't affected me too much. In other news, Lusipurr really wants to write a column this week, so we will all be seeing him on Friday. I didn't even have to ask this time!




LETTERS
No one suspects the butterfly!


Hey, Sean,

I would have had someone get me past my sticking point in Wild Arms V but I don't know any other gamers. That's one of the reasons I love this site so much - I get to interact with people who share my passion for gaming.

Sean

I see. I would have just grabbed a kid off the street in that case. Offer them candy, give them a backrub and before you know it... you'll end up in jail. Oh, ok. Forget this plan.

The trade actually worked out well for me. I got Final Fantasy XII Collector's Edition. I hadn't bought this game because I was so disappointed in X. I felt that the people who made X were tired of making RPGs. The game felt rote & uninspired. However, I am LOVING XII. I'm not too far in (about to go to the Henne Mines), but this game is fun. BAH, now I just read the letter from vashdestampede about not opening chests to eventually get the best weapon. Oh, well, I'll just have to do without it. I've been opening every chest I can find. This stupid secret has reduced my opinion of XII - if I were rating, this would be worth at least a half point (on a 5 scale) off.

Sean

Exactly. It was a horrible decision on the side of the developers. Absolutely horrible. I had a lot of fun with both FFX and FFXII--I don't see why so many people have problems with them.

Have you read any Terry Prachett? He's most known for his series of Disc World books. They're set in the same world & have some main characters that show up in each book, but the stories are stand alone. They're also quite humorous. If you like Douglas Adams, you'll love Terry.

Sean

I liked his Interesting Times. The whole butterfly thing was hilarious. I read a few of his books, but haven't since reading Pyramids. For the most part I like the characters he creates, but it just got old.

LCD v. plasma. They're both good, but LCDs are lighter, more durable & don't have burn-in issues. I've been looking into this because I've promised myself a new TV once I find a better apartment.

If I don't write again before, have a great holiday! Didn't mean to sound sad in my last letter - I just hate my job & am counting down to my retirement much like a prisoner marking off the days. Dec.31, 2015 can't come fast enough!!

Jbumi

Sean

I think I am leaning towards LCD. The burn-in thing is important, since I tend to pause games for lengths of time when called to do other things. My dad promised me a tv for graduation, but only after I've moved out. I need to look for an apartment now. Thanks for the letter!



Flaming the Flamethrower


I'm going to let Flamethrower's best of list slide because it has so much love for Odin Sphere. I have to come to the conclusion, however, that Flamethrower has not played Persona 3. No best of RPG list is complete without it.

Now I haven't played all the RPGs out this year, but I did play Ar Tonelico. In my humble opinion, P3's traditional gameplay and relationship sim aspects completely trumps AT's. It really is a matter of preference, or how anime clicheish you want you want your game to be. I seriously believe the Shin Megami Tensei series deserves to be a pillar RPG series in the US. It has long since surpassed Suikoden and Wild Arms, and recently slipped by the Tales series in my book. I seriously don't think people realize just how polished and well localized these games really are.

Jonezy

Sean

Now if only we could buy Atlus games off the shelves here in Quebec. People might learn of their existence then! I really liked SMT: DDS1&2. I thought the combat system was absolutely stellar. I loved it to death. How does Persona 3 compare to it?



Shouldn't it be called Shinmegaten?


Hello Sean (or whoever is reading this!)

Like so many RPGamers who already showed up here, I'm a long-time reader of the Q&A column, but a poor writer! Actually this is my second letter!

On the last column (December 17th), the letter written by ~7thCircle took my attention.

I'm a fan of the Megaten series, and Persona happens to be my favorite spin-off by far! Don't be afraid to try it, it's a wonderful series! The plot (as on the majority of the Megaten games) takes place on a modern world, the characters are deeply developed (specially in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment), the gameplay is awesome and incredibly planned; and there's a LOT of cultural, occult, religious and scientific/psychic references! One of the few games where Shiva is NOT a freaking Ice Maiden!

Sean

Shiva isn't an ice maiden in any of the SMT games. Well, at least that I have seen. The problem is that sometimes these references just don't work when translated. I have that problem with anime and manga all the time!

I strongly recommend you to take a look into the games. I know take you haven't played any of the series, so i leave you some pointers as to where to start.

Sean

I hated Persona 1. I played both DDS1 and 2.

Revelations: Persona: The very first of the series, almost regarded as "pure crap". But take into account that it was developed in '96, and was one of the first Megaten titles to ever grace the western hemisphere. Add to that one of the worst localization job I ever saw (not to say downright ripping!)! Play it only if you have played Persona 2 or 3; and you find yourself curious about how did it begin.

Sean

I love games made prior to '96.

Persona 2: In my opinion, the best part of the series. It was released in Japan in two parts, Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment. Both games occur on the same world, but in parallel realities. Only Eternal Punishment have set on western shores. The story is very dark and adult, conflicting heavily with the happy-go feel of Revelations Persona. The game is highly challenging, sometimes unforgiving. But once you understands the mechanics, you ought to be fine! And one of the best endings on the game history (in my opinion)!

Sean

Sounds similar to what I went through in DDS1.

Persona 3: I'm still playing it, and savoring every bit of it! By far the best PS2 game of the year, and one of the best for the console! In contrast to the dark, heavier atmosphere of Persona 2; this game has a more 'light' feel to it. Take into account everything that has been said about it. it IS true! And the game is easier compared to Persona 2.

Sean

That is a good thing. I dislike difficulty when it isn't really needed.

I recommend you to start playing Persona 3, just to take a 'feel' of the series. And only after you beat it, move to Persona 2, which is a more intense experience; which will force you to pay attention solely to it (no more watching TV while playing ^_^)!

From a fellow RPGamer

Ziphakiel Valkrist

Sean

I'll add it to my must-play list. Suikoden 5 is the first one on that list. Thanks for the advice! Keep on writing!



Oooooh... an artist!


Hello Sean! Crazy snow, huh? 20 minutes walk to my job, another 10 from there to school. Gets even longer when it snows. Cold at 5:30, too!

Sean

Ummm, try 4x the travel time. I hate it.

Well I've just read your Bio on the site. Shouldn't you update it now that you've finished your classes? Anyway, that's just funny because I'm enrolled in Film Animation at Concordia. I can't wait to have finished (april 7th!!). Of course I like drawing, animating and everything related to that, but somehow, when it's school-related, it gets uninteresting, and I tend to do something else instead, like, playing video games, or simply other projects not involving my final film. By the way, I also tend to play two games at once (or just play while doing other things), like I did with FFIIIDS... battles are so boring and looooong, and then you have the winning screen. Worst thing when you want to level for a reason or another.

Sean

I would, but I am lazy. I never really updated it since the Q&Apprentice version! I actually did the same thing. Portable game in one hand, MMO in the other. I hate downtime.

But I wanted to talk about the game you are planning for your column. I can do some illustrations for it, depending on what you need, of course.

Sean

The picture thing will work as follows: see an empty picture frame and supply drawings for them. I'll add the ones I like best to the game. I have no talent for that sort of thing. Of course, it will be completely voluntary. Don't forget to sign them!

It's hard for me to say what game of 2007 was the best, since I haven't played many new games this year. I didn't own a portable console since the gameboy color, own no new-gen consoles, and have only played Final Fantasy XII this year for the PS2. But, well, I love Revenant Wings. I'm not finished (77%, and I plan on getting to 100%) but I really have a lot of fun. I'm not disapointed at all, and although some missions are too easy, some offer a good challenge. Graphics are nice (I've always loved sprites and pixel art) and colorful. The music is good, even though many complain on it being the same as FFXII, I think it's better that way. Kind of childish at times, it also has cheesy moments, but I have to admit I've been surprised at some plot elements and didn't guess everything in advance. So, that's it for the best games of 2007!

Sean

The only one that counts is Revenant Wings. FFXII is just too old. ^^

For the one that should have never seen the light of day, well, I'd go for Heroes of Mana. It's sad, but it's a mess. I found the graphics and music to be rather interesting, sometimes even impressive, but gameplay was it's biggest flaw, and for an RTS-ish game, well that's really bad. I'm not too mad, because I bought it to help me wait for RW. I finished it... but didn't do all the extra missions and stuff.

Sean

I am really glad I didn't pick that one up. It sounds like a real winner.

Hmm... when I think about it, those are the only 2007 games I've played... Except if you count a dozen multiplayer games of Zelda (I plan on finishing Wind Waker before starting that one) which I've found to be really fun. Game looks great, too. So, I guess that's it from me.

Unpetitmax

Sean

It is always nice to hear from someone local, especially someone that wants to contribute to the "game". As an update to everyone on the subject, I haven't started coding yet, but I have started a lot of the design work. I have an idea of how the first iterations will play out. I don't want to go into any details as I don't want to dash anyone's hopes if it turns out that I need to change something. Thanks for the letter Max!



NO QUICKIES TODAY



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Sean is still trying to track down one last gift...


Oh well... *poof*

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