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Q&A Definitive 60FPS Edition
  January 31st, 2014

01/31- 7:00PM EST

I hope you all enjoyed the RPGamer Best of 2013 Awards. It's been one of my favorite award features to take in, both before and after joining RPGamer. I'm sure there's many things you readers disagree with, so be sure to send me in your thoughts! I was just glad that I wasn't the only one that had a blast with Adventure Time. The RPG of the Year was probably no surprise, but Fire Emblem really deserved it.

Now let's dig into the letters!





The Letters
Another Mail R

Hey Wheels,
 
Yes, I really should finish Suikoden 2. Oh well, all in due time. As for the ending of Final Fantasy 6... Maybe you should add a spoiler alert here in case someone hasn't finished it yet.


Wheels

Please finish Suikoden II! I would love to discuss that game further with you. Now let's get back to Final Fantasy VI.

Here comes...
 
Don't read any further if you haven't finished FF6 yet.




 
I was very much unimpressed by the ending. Someone commented on it may be because of its age, but really... I think the GBA version was given a very good overhaul and as far as the text in the game goes, was very good. At least I still felt everything in every cut scene... Sure, not as much as I felt it the first time around (I will never forget that feeling) but it came very close. The ending though... Was terribly lackluster... I was hoping for something far more dramatic. It would've made more sense if Terra actually succumbed to the whole thing, that perhaps Figaro Castle would've gotten destroyed in the process, something like that. I felt the ending was a bit childish after what I consider for the majority to be a very mature storyline. Still... It was a good feeling to finally finish it.


Wheels

I would agree that some aspects were childish for sure, but there was the whole aspect of Shadow staying there to die (assuming he didn't already die) and I just like the finality of it all. I can see your point on Terra, but I think it's fine the way it is. Largely, I just loved the care given each character in the ending and the finality of it all. The statues are destroyed, magic is dead, and there isn't even the slightest hint of a sequel hook. Final Fantasy VI is very much a complete story in a way that too many of the other games in the series are not. Not to mention it has the best final boss sequence in the series! I hope you enjoyed the game despite disliking the ending.

Unfortunately the version I will be playing of BoF 5 is going to be the European version, but whatever happened can't be that bad can it?


Wheels

It's pretty bad. Here's are the differences as listed on Wikipedia:

"For unknown reasons however this version featured a few changes in the game's mechanics. Both SOL: Restore and Restart have been removed in this version meaning that the only way to keep any progress made like one's D-Ratio, experience points and items when restarting is through the New Game+ mode available only after completing the entire game once. To compensate for this the player can find roughly twice as many save tokens throughout the game."

I'm sure it's still possible to have the same fun experience with the game, but as the I'd take a look at options to play the US version.

So... I feel I need to apologize to Ian Bathelt (who, by the way has a name that sounds like it came straight out of Final Fantasy Tactics, which is awesome! I named my character in Breath of Fire 1 Ian...) for I am probably one of the reasons he dislikes Q&A so much. Sorry Ian. I will try to come up with some Q's to A. They'll probably still be a tad editorialistic, but... I will try...


Wheels

No need to apologize! I ask for these kinds of write-ins, and as host I select which ones to use. I think people enjoy these and he's the only one that I've gotten a complaint from. Never apologize for sending anything in, remember that I'm ultimately responsible for what gets used!

- What did you think of the ending of Final Fantasy 6. Did YOU love it? Really love it?


Wheels

There's very few things about that game that I don't love.

- What game series do you think has/had so much potential but just never got it right? (I have my answer already, I dare bet it is the same... answer in the bottom)


Wheels

I'll start with a non-RPG series in Red Faction. Based on the idea of destructible environments, the series could never quite completely capitalize that idea mixed with a Mars setting (and one game took place on Earth for some reason). I still like the games (haven't played the last one yet), and I think Guerilla's multiplayer actually hit it out of the park, but the series always had a feel of "almost brilliant but not quite". I hope Nordic Games does something with the IP.

As for RPGs, I think I would have to go with the Elder Scrolls series. I know that sounds strange given the popularity of the games, but I feel like the series as a whole gets so much right while also getting so much wrong. That's not even going into the many technical issues. I understand the complexities of making a huge open world game, but I look at Fallout 3 and see a game from the same developer that has a better handle on making an interesting world with combat that doesn't bore the dickens out of me. I haven't played much Skyrim due to PS3 issues, so we'll see if more time with that game changes my mind. Still, I feel like the Elder Scrolls series hasn't met its potential.

- What game series or stand alone RPG had you more than pleasantly surprised?


Wheels

In recent memory I'd have to go with Resonance of Fate. Star Ocean 3 made me very hesitant to try anything by tri-Ace, despite the accolades some of its classics have received. The poor critical showing for Resonance of Fate didn't help to sway my interest of course. After lots of talk from a fan of tri-Ace, some further reading that made me think it was vaguely similar to Final Fantasy XIII, and of course a requisite reduced price, I finally gave it a try. What a strange and wonderful journey followed after that. Resonance of Fate ended up eating up more of my time than Final Fantasy XIII and I even dug into the majority of its sidequests, something I don't usually do. I've talked quite a bit about the game in the past, so I'll just say that anyone not to try the game yet needs to give it a look.

- Should Square Enix enlist Mumford and Sons to do a soundtrack to a new IP? Who am I kidding, that's not a question... Of course they should!


Wheels

I can think of many wonderful uses for their music. How about a music-based RPG where you play as a bard traveling through a fantasy world. You could then enlist Mumford and Sons to take care of all the musical work. Dang it, now I want that to be a real game!

Cheers,
Daniel
 
(The Mana series)


Wheels

I can see where you're going with that. For me, the Mana series did meet its potential for the first four games, and everything that followed failed to build on those in any conceivable way. The drop-off from Legend of Mana on is pretty depressing. Oh well, perhaps it'll get its time to shine in the future?

Q&A The Lad

Hello Wheels, my second letter to you. I am very bummed to hear you are stepping down from the Q and A, won't be the same without you.


Wheels

I appreciate that! I hope at least you write in some more while I'm still handling Q&A. Now let's see what's on your mind.

My first letter to you was about how underrated Breath of Fire IV is in my opinion and after reading the retroview of Twilight of the Spirits, it made me reflect on how that series too is underrated. The first one is short but very sweet with a great soundtrack and solid characters. The second one is really where its at though. There will be spoilers within and I will be focusing primarily on narrative aspects so this is not 20 pages.


Wheels

Haven't played much of Breath of Fire IV, had trouble getting into a lot of that series that wasn't Dragon Quarter. Arc The Lad, on the other hand, is something will absolutely agree is very underrated. I wonder if perhaps Working Designs releasing the first three games as a collection (which I think they were forced to do) made it hard for the series to get a lot of appreciation in the west. Certainly it has that Working Designs hardcore fanbase, but I never hear about the games as much as even some of the lesser games they localized. Sony didn't seem to do a great job when they published Twilight of the Spirits in the West.

I love the intermingling of the characters from the first game and the new ones from this one. The individual stories are perhaps more interesting then the overarching narrative which loses its steam towards the end. The music is again top notch, and the pairing off of various characters and the stories they tell is quite unique. It's a story that builds upon the first game nicely and really takes its time to tell. The third game is just kind of a mess but pleasant enough.


Wheels

I always enjoy a game that gets the little parts of a story right, even if the main arc isn't great. It's what the Mass Effect series got so right. Qualms about the main story and the ending aside, most people loved all the different characters and the main side stories the series contained. Arc the Lad obviously isn't that in depth, but it still succeeds for similar reasons.

Twilight of the Spirits is brilliant for a number of reasons. The dual narrative of the human and the deimos is done well and the game does not provide any answers for the legitimate issues that each side feels and does not tie it up in a bow. The voice acting and music is solid if not a bit overacted. One of the most fascinating things it does, that I can't recall another game doing, is that it is a continuing story. Arc and Kukuru from the first and second games are referred to and talked about in legendary terms. We of course saw them when they were just kids; not sure of who they were or what they were doing and helped them figure it out. Hearing them talked about as the holy mother and the legendary hero is an interesting experience thus. The connectivity of the narrative and the consequences of actions from earlier games (including why there are deimos in the first place) was something I did not see until bioware (which admittedly does it better). Have you played the series and what are your thoughts?


Wheels

That's interesting, I typed up my previous response involving BioWare without even seeing that you had similar thoughts! I haven't played the series extensively, but I've played the first game and Twilight of Spirits. I always enjoy an RPG series that can continue in the same world and tie back to older games, letting you see how the world has changed since past events. Too many RPG series just cast things aside, or move to a new location between entries and waste the story of past games. Of course not every RPG series needs to do this, but I really appreciate those that do. We need more Arc the Lad type RPG worlds.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings

-Brian


Wheels

Any time!

True Logic

@AskWheels If evolution is real and humans came from monkeys then why do we still have monkeys? (@TakeThatDarwin)


Wheels

Because who else will throw feces in a humorous fashion?

@AskWheels How many terrible games are coming out this year?


Wheels

There's always the chance more games could be announced, but as of right now the only one I can think of is Mugen Souls Z (Yes, I know it could technically be better, but you all should know how much the first game destroyed me). Honestly I don't see a ton of games that scream "this is going to be bad". Perhaps some low budget open-world RPG will show up to "save" the day?

@AskWheels Why am I terrible at Wasteland? Alternatively, why is Wasteland so hard?


Wheels

Old-school RPGs have to be hard, or they wouldn't meet the exacting requirements of the term. Seriously though, surviving the post-apocalyptic future should be hard. I'm all for a game with difficulty that appropriately matches its setting.

@AskWheels Also, in what way is Zelda a RPG?


Wheels

Genre definitions stink. There's a ton of ways you can look at what an RPG is, from sticking closely to table top games including the necessity to have some control over the story ("role-playing") to simply a game that uses attributes and stats to affect the outcomes of actions. When talking about RPGs I generally just throw anything that's pretty close into the mix, which would include the Zelda series given its influence on games more closely fitting the definition. Also the series is big with a lot of RPG fans already, so putting it in the mix with RPGs makes a ton of sense.

A Link Between Worlds is also incredible so any reason to talk about it more is welcome.

@AskWheels Are there any good RPGs that you know of where instead of being the Chosen One, you instead play the Big Bad?


Wheels

There is Evil Quest, a decent little indie action RPG available on Xbox Live and Windows. You play as the Big Bad, and though this is mainly story related and not quite the same as making you feel like the ultimate evil, it's still pretty interesting. Of course there's always Knights of the Old Republic.

@AskWheels All of them are wonderful and thoughtful, I'm guessing?


Wheels

Ha!

@AskWheels Have you ever played Darklands? I recommend it. What other games can you think of that attempt to present a historical experience

@falselogic


Wheels

I have never played, nor for that matter as far as I am aware, ever even heard of that game. There is Nethergate, which features a similar historical setting and also incorporates some mythical elements. Another largely untapped RPG type I think, I would love to see more RPGs tapping into historical settings even if they aren't trying to be accurate.

Ysy Awards

@AskWheels Here, "What do you think contributed most to choosing such solid and accepted entries for the 2013 RPGamer Awards?"

@wwreyes


Wheels

I'm not sure! We've got a wide variety of different tastes on staff, but almost all of us seemed to love Fire Emblem so that one was certainly an easy pick. Other than that I don't think there were too many hugely divisive titles other than perhaps some quibbles about Shin Megami Tensei IV and Ni No Kuni. The staff works hard all year and I think it really shows through in the awards!
IN CLOSING

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