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Tales of Excitement
January 26th, 2011

01/26 - 12:00PM EST

  Well, the impossible has happened. Not just the impossible, the mind-shattering impossible. Though it isn't officially confirmed, it appears based on teasers from Namco-Bandai US, that a localization of Tales of Graces F is on its way! I am beyond excited. Oh right, this isn't the Tales love-fest. We have a contest going, and I'm going to get to some of your entries finally! Remember that you guys have until the end of February to enter.

Now then....





The Letters
Tales of Fan Fights

Hi Wheels!


Im a long-time reader but I never really feel like I have anything to ask or say until recently. Early last week I was going to send you a letter asking you why FFXIII received so much hate but that was answered in the forum of the Square Enix announcement. I remember when the reviews for FFXIII first started coming in and most, if not all, of the reviewers main complaint was that the game was too linear and that it wasnt until later in the game that you finally gained the freedom to move about and do whatever you want, I remember thinking "Why is this a bad thing?" I never understood why people people felt the linearity of that game was a bad thing. I understand everybody has their preference and yada yada yada but I actually... appreciated the linearity. Im a Gemini and its hard for me to make decisions so I actually liked that FFXIII pretty much forced me go one way and enjoy the story. I actually felt that the narrative suffered by the "openness" of Pulse (and most of the people I know actually feel the same way...)


Wheels

I don't really understand the complaints either, especially considering it's a Final Fantasy game, and people should be used to linearity. FFXIII rightly put the main focus of the game on its strongest aspect, the battle system, and the whole experience revolves around it. I think it's similar to many tactical RPGs, where the experience outside of battle is often very linear. I don't really know what to tell you. I guess people were expecting Mass Effect/Dragon Age/Fallout for some reason? The best way I've seen it put is that XIII removes the "illusion" of freedom, and this is probably what bothered most people. I'll bet those who enjoyed XIII were fans of Final Fantasy X. I think it's more a sign that linear RPGs have fallen out of favor than a real condemnation of Final Fantasy XIII. It's far from a perfect game for sure, but it does not deserve all the hate.

Now, as far as the narrative suffering when you get to Pulse, I'd have to disagree with you there. It just takes a different form for that chapter. The narrative for that chapter is told through the environments, along with the side-quests you get. I think this is actually a fantastic way to go about this too, given the vast emptiness that is Pulse. This is actually a theme I really liked a lot about the game, the lack of towns and NPCs created a fantastic sense of isolation.

Also, it makes sense that the player was forced to keep going forward (literally) since Lightning and her crew were on the run... it didnt make sense, to the narrative (imo) that you would go explore Coccoon and all its unexplored areas when you got a whole army of people that are chasing you down and that know where you are! I understand that this is a game and that this is obviously not reality but I always have trouble when in the final hours of games... you got this big bad person or thing trying to destroy the world in a matter of days/hours and in that exact moment is when your character feels this need to go search the world for their most powerful weapons, go race chocobos, evade 200 or whatever lightning bolts, or go explore that new dungeon that all of a sudden appeared on that other continent over there. I think that's why I enjoyed the recent Persona games so much. You had a time limit to do things. You had a certain amount of free time that you were able to do whatever you want with but at a certain point of time you either continued with the story or  that was it. Game Over. I like a certain amount of believability in my games so all of that appealed to me A LOT (not to mention the real world setting of the Persona games is also a big draw for me). I think another reason I liked FFXIII is because your team members actually... follow you. They dont just... disappear into your person (which might also explain why my other two favorite FF are FFVIII and FFXII). They talk and comment about the world that you are running through and jump around and react to things in the same way that you are. i appreciated those little touches. But enough about that. FFXIII was discussed to death in the forum and everyone is entitled to either like or dislike a game. The point of this long paragraph was for me to ask if you have you played FFXIII and what is your opinion on this "war"?


Wheels

Good point, it's very refreshing for a game to have heroes on the run, that actually feel like they're on the run. Pictures of the heroes have been broadcast all over, so it wouldn't make much sense in many parts of the story to have them wandering into towns. Granted, we've heard that the lack of towns was a bit of a development concession, however it still works.

As far as people following you, I think that's largely a minor thing. Only showing one of the party members was often done to make development easier, but it's not much of an issue anymore. On that note, in Final Fantasy XII only half of your party shows up in non-town areas, and only one character appears while wondering around towns, so it doesn't fully escape this issue (same with Final Fantasy XIII not showing all your party members at once, and only those in your battle team)!

As far as the "war" goes , I've been very disappointed with the discussion all over the internet, and don't think it's worth commenting on further. Too many people commenting on it who haven't finished or even played the game, so it's just very disappointing. Reminds me of the "Final Fantasy XII plays itself" nonsense all over again. I'm fine with people hating it, it is surely a love it or hate it type of game, but just the lack of civility in many arguments (not talking about the RPGamer forums, just mean in general) is very disappointing.
 
My second question to you is about Resonance of Fate. RoF is the next game on my list to play (right after Dragon Age II. Ive been on a DA:O binge lately [just finished my third play-through and going through all the DLCs]. After finishing Witch Hunt soon,  Im just going to play some casual games like Left4Dead 2 or something until March since I only got a month left and I dont think I could start an RPG now and finish it by the time Dragon Age II comes out) and one of the things that SOLD me on the game was the fact you can customize the look of your characters! I LOVE when games let you do that. i would literally sometimes not put the most awesome stat boosting armor on my character in DA just because it didnt match the other gear I had on him (i know, shallow but whatever... i like my characters looking good, FEELIN' GOOD!). As somebody thats played the game, what was your take on that feature?

Thanks for answering my questions, sorry if I was a little long-winded. I promise that if I ever write again Ill try to write a shorter letter. :)

Thanks
Elementol


Wheels

I really liked this feature in Resonance of Fate. It was one of my favorite things about Dragon Quest IX, but I really wished they had implemented it as something separate from the armor system, so you didn't have to stick with older equipment. Thankfully, RoF delivers in this regard (it only has accessories as far as armor goes), and there a lot of fun types of shirts and such that you can get, including changing character's hair color. It's also completely optional for those who just want to stick to the default look of the characters.

Long letters are always welcome! Good to hear from you.



Tales of Classic Games

Wheels,

I've been a longtime fan of RPGamer.com for many a year now. Thanks for all the great updates in the world of RPGs you guys!

Wheels

From the whole fantastic team here at RPGamer, thank you. We've got a really hard working crew here. Except for that Wheels guy...


I believe every gamer has their own system. Mine would be the PS1. The games were fun and innovative for the time. Heck I still think the graphics look great! Maybe that's just because of my fond memories playing it, but give me any old PS1 RPG over the crap they're putting out today (well, mostly crap. There are diamonds in the rough). The SNES takes a very close second for me. What's your system Wheels?


Wheels

It would have to be the SNES. The classic RPGs for the SNES such as Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger really dominated my childhood, and I still find myself going back to them often. This is mostly a nostalgia thing though, as if I really looked at it, I'm sure the majority of my favorite RPGs would be from other systems (Final Fantasy Legends 1 & 2 weren't on it after-all).

I have read that you have a dislike for Xenogears. Why is that? I have played through this game MANY, MANY times and never bore of it. I find the graphics pleasing, the story is incredibly interesting, the soundtrack is a class act (Mitsuda's best work, in my humble opinion) and the battle system was simple and easy to master yet keeps me grinding for hours. What is not to love but for the fact that Takahashi bit off more than he can chew and the the poor translation?


Wheels

You may be disappointed to find out that there isn't a deep seated hatred or anything fun of that type for me to gush about here. Xenogears just isn't my thing. I liked the combat system well enough but the story/characters/setting never really did anything for me. I certainly can't call it a bad game. Maybe I should give it another shot. Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for a Sci-Fi RPG at the time.

What are your thoughts on Xenosaga? I found it to be a let down and a poor game in general. I played Episode 1 about halfway, I suppose, and canned it. Given my obvious love for Xenogears, do you recommend my giving this series a second chance? I believe the hardcore Xenogears fan would feel the same as me.


Wheels

I really couldn't get into Xenosaga. There was just too much talking for me, and I have a high threshold for that from the Tales Series. The actual gameplay didn't do that much for me either (talking about Episode 1 which is all I played). I'd say it's something Xenogears fans should at least try. It's a shame we never got Xenosaga 1&2 for the DS. That seemed like a more compact version of the first two episodes.

Oh and as far as all the suggestions that have been made regarding your name, I believe Sir Wheels would be in best order. Someone needs to redirect Queen Elizabeth to RPGamer.

- Jamey


Sir Wheels

 Sir Wheels...that has a nice ring to it. Very nice. I may have to stick with that! *Wheels' ego levels up*


Let the Contest Entry Responding Begin!

Wheels,
 I might have an idea for a couple of the games sequels you mentioned. The first being Ys VIII:

I think Ys VIII should harken back to the Ys 6 (or Oath in Felghana style of gameplay).
Then, I think Adol should go it alone, being shipped wrecked on every main continent from the past Ys games, starting with Ys seven and going through Ys vanished omen. That would be like 7 or 8 levels with help from his past friends and foes alike. Filled with puzzles and questing to face the evil Dark fact and Darm tower once again. Only to wake up out of a deep sleep................and find out, it was all a dream.

Wheels

While I would prefer more Ys Seven style gameplay, a proper follow up to the Oath in Felghana gameplay style is a fantastic idea. Though Ys Origins isn't bad, it's just a step down from the greatness that was Oath. Your idea sounds similar to one of the versions of Ys IV, (or maybe both?) which went back to some of the areas from I&II. Many of the Ys games hint at ties to the location of Ys itself, so it would be cool to have a game that better ties everything together.

As for a Chrono Trigger sequel:

I think Chrono and crew should take their TIME machine to OUR past (circa 1998-2000) and THEIR future. Right around the TIME Chrono Cross was being thought about and hold the developers hostage until they make a proper sequel to the original Chrono Trigger.

Wheels

This one made me chuckle. I really like Chrono Cross, being a Chrono Trigger sequel I guess just comes with completely unreachable expectations. To be fair, it did have it's issues though.

As for the Ogre Battle series:

I think Tactics Ogre and Ogre Battle should blend their style of gameplay together into one. Then face off against characters from Ivalice (i.e. Final Fantasy Tactics, to see whose tactics style of gameplay truly rules them all.

sincerly,
Gamer emporium (i.e.) Jason

Wheels

Final Fantasy Tactics Dissidia: Who Wants to Live Forever (to go with Ogre Battle's theme of using the names of Queen songs) seems like a suitable idea for this crazy idea. I would buy it! Ogre Battle is probably too niche to warrant them doing such a thing though.

P.S. I don't think I'll win any of the aforementioned goodies, but it is fun just coming up with some fun(ny) ideas for sequels:) feel free to use any of this or edit any of this letter as you see fit:)

Wheels

Don't be so down! You've got a shot. Even though you bashed Chrono Chross (come on guys, do that many people hate it?).

Tales of Chrono

Hey Wheels,
 
Let's start with my entry for a Chrono Trigger sequel. Any really good sequel, in my opinion, tends to keep what made the first game memorable and then go on to expand the world, vastly improve on the mechanics, and generally attempt to make the game better. First off, you have to have time travel. In my mind the great thing about the time travel in Chrono Trigger was that you were able to see the same world through many time periods that weren't necessarily similar at all. You had the medieval times of knights and wizards and frogs, the future with robots and a lovely apocalyptic scenario, prehistoria and all of its dinosaurian jungle charm... It varied a lot, I guess is my point. So in a good sequel you'd have to do the same. It'd be nice to see a distant future without Lavos' destruction, or even a new enemy's impact. How about a steampunk time period between the present and the future? Starting the game off in a new time period would definitely be a fun way to be introduced to the characters of the sequel (and with time travel I see no reason that some (if not all) of the original characters could return). There are a lot of options you could explore, plus I would love to see the End of Time area return with more of an impact on the story.


Wheels

Very cool ideas for sure. I agree that the biggest thing about the sequel is the core idea of time travel, and the base battle system. The only issue with your sequel idea would be what ending from the first game would they use (which is important if characters are to return). Would Chrono Cross be canon (I know I pretty much said you didn't have to take this into account, just curious)? I don't recall much about how Chrono Cross handles this, but it'd be more a pressing matter for your sequel. Maybe let the player pick one and have things play out differently based on that? Certainly a good starting point though. Let's see what else you've got...

The battle system could be kept mainly the same, but if you wanted to improve it I would say something more action-oriented like Rogue Galaxy or FFXII would fit the pace most. As long as they kept the Techs (especially the ability to combine them) and the basic RPG feel I don't think you could go wrong. Especially if Akira Toriyama were onboard for designing the new characters. The music in Chrono Trigger was mainly composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, but apparently some of the tracks were Uematsu's so I think it would be interesting to see both composers return for CT2. Perhaps even go beyond two composers and have a different composer for each time period. It would definitely give time travel in the game a more powerful feel if it were done properly. Most of all I would like to see Square-Enix return to making worlds that you can explore in the sky. I think FFIX was the last Square-Enix RPG I played where you were able to fly around the world. Lost Odyssey would've been the last non-Square-Enix RPG that I know of. Lastly it would be great to see this come to all three major consoles in beautiful HD amazingness, but knowing Squeenix it'd most likely get crammed onto the 3DS or the Wii and alienate the Xbox 360/PS3/PSP (Yeah, I wouldn't even mind it coming to the PSP 'cause after Crisis Core I fully believe Squeenix can do amazing things with it) gamers that have been waiting so long for the second coming... Of Crono.


Wheels

I don't agree that making it more action-oriented would work. That's even more of a departure from the first game than Chrono Cross was. Sticking with some form of the original battle system I think still would be best. FFXII style may be a good fit too.

I actually absolutely love your idea of using different composers for different time periods. That really would give each period its own feel. Then you could have the varying musical themes mixed together in the final areas of the game of course.

You know, flying is fun and all, but I think it's largely trivial. I'd rather they make very large areas to explore in each time period, wouldn't you? I can't see them doing a HD game, much as I want one, but maybe they could do a sequel as a downloadable game, but if not on portables, perhaps they could just do it as a downloadable game for the major consoles? We're getting ahead of ourselves. The sequel needs to exist first!

Randomly, does it disturb anyone else that Square-Enix has a store called SQEX Toys (among other things SQEXy)? It sounds like a word commonly used in the porn industry...


Wheels

I hadn't noticed this before, but now that you mention it, yes, that is very much disturbing. Someone in marketing has some explaining to do... (or maybe not, perhaps the attention drawn by the name is good?)

And just to touch on your hot topic of the next Fallout game... My hopes are that Bethesda will go back to having full control, though they should take the time to update the graphics properly and incorporate some challenging boss fights into their world. I haven't played New Vegas, but from all that I've read and heard about it I don't think I'll be picking it up until it drops sufficiently in price, and that may not even be enough to encourage the purchase.
 
Am I the only one waiting on a TMNT RPG?
Lataz Wheels,
Kain V. - www.EmbracingFate.com


Wheels

I think you should play New Vegas, sooner rather than later. Many of the issues with the game seem to be technical, which isn't completely Obsidian's fault. Mainly, I've seen more old-school Fallout fans loving this game than I did with Fallout 3 (I still haven't played much of it yet). It sounds like Obsidian did a much better job creating a fully realized world than Bethesda did. It did have many of the original Fallout team working on it, so wouldn't surprise me if this is accurate. Not that I think Fallout 3 is bad or anything, but these former Black Isle folk specialize in good story. Even if I end up not liking it, I hope it's not the last crack Obsidian gets at the franchise. Besides, Bethesda has enough to work on with the upcoming Elder Scrolls game!

Back on Obsidian though, is it just me or have they gotten a raw deal as a company? Had to rush Knights of the Old Republic 2 out, had to follow up a Bioware game again with Neverwinter Knights 2, seems like they had technical issues with Alpha Protocol as well. Hopefully Dungeon Siege III goes smoother for them.

P.S. No, I want a TMNT RPG, that is a brilliant idea!

IN CLOSING

That's all for this week! As you can see, contest entries will continue to show up in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for your entry! Also, I will be giving out a copy of Chrono Cross as a second place prize, though judging by one of this week's entries, that may not excite that many of you! 

'Til next time!

-Wheels

Current Backlog: Objects in Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear

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What I can't wait for:

1. Ys: I&II PSP

2. Dragon Quest VI

3. Tactics Ogre

4. Disgaea 4

5. Radiant Historia


On my Playlist:

1. Resonance of Fate Soundtrack

2. The World Ends With You Soundtrack

3. Mad Dog Radio



Hot Topics:

1. Does Resonance of Fate deserve a sequel (spiritual or otherwise)?

2. EA has gotten Bioware to pump out RPGs faster than they did in the past. Is this due to increased resources, or are they are risk of damaging the output of the RPG machine?

3. Does the crazy complexity of the Armored Core series qualify any of the games as RPGs?

4. If Secret of Mana on the iPhone is a success, will Square-Enix revisit the Mana series?

5. Should Camelot do a new SRPG franchise, since it's unlikely they'd work with Sega again?


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