|Legend of Tales
|April 7th, 2011
04/07- 12:00PM EST
So obviously last Friday's column did NOT contain an actual letter from
Kawazu. I hope you all enjoyed it! Thanks to reader Adam for provided
the hilarious faux-Kawazu text. I thought RPGamer as a whole came up
with some fun stuff this April Fools day, so I hope we got some laughs
out of you fine readers. Anyway, like many JRPG fans I am completely
sucked into Legend of Heroes: Trails
in the Sky at the moment, and having a grand time with it. For a
game that originally came out 7 years ago on Japanese PCs, it feels
shockingly fresh. Who else is playing it? Anyway, on to your
I just finished reading with fascination your letter from Akitoshi
Kawazu. I have to say it was incredible.
Errr, I'm glad you liked it...because, well, how to put this? It wasn't
real! I guess we succeeded in making it look convincing.
I would like to add that his works have at least one devoted fan in my
household. I've been playing SaGa II
(FF Legend II) on my Game Boy
essentially since it was released, and to this day I find it a stunning
example of RPG design, one where I'm STILL bumping into new things!
It's battle system, for instance, seems simple on the outset- seemingly
random ability bumps, spells awarded to your Mutants almost randomly
and monster meat allows novices to get through the story without much
difficulty. But delve into it, and you discover an absolute wealth of
fantastic, innovative design implementations that make it truly
I am glad to see another who really appreciates how great SaGa II is. I mean, they didn't
even have to change the gameplay systems that much for the remake. They
just needed to tweak things (and rework the presentation
obviously). For a game on a tiny black and white cartridge, it's quite
For instance, each spell has a hidden "level" to it, and each enemy can
award a spell of that "level" or below at the end battle. With that
knowledge, you can actually receive the most powerful-magic spell in
the game, Flare, as far back as Apollos World!
Wow, I didn't even know that! I wonder if it's still true in the
remake. I'm really going to have to spend the time sometime soon to
play through it. After all, even remade it's still on the shorter side.
Not that this is a bad thing, there's too many incredibly long games
Not to mention an absolutely essential innovation I have yet to see in
other RPGs- The Memo Function! Accessible from the main menu, it saves
automatically the most important conversations and hints your
characters get, preventing the oh-so-frustrating "Where the heck should
I go next" syndrome present in a lot of these types of RPGs
Really, in the modern era all RPGs should have this. Having been
often puts down RPGs for a long time, I can't tell you how much I
appreciate this kind of feature. So why don't more games have this? It
just boggles the mind. Legend of
Heroes: Trails in the Sky has an extensive memo type feature
that I really love for example. I can think of a lot of games that
would do quite well with this kind of feature (Dragon Quest VII!), and yet it's
still not something that all RPGs include. I think it's past the time
where this is a must for all RPGs.
Anywho, I just wanted to say, thank you for publishing Akitoshi
Kawazu's letter. It really shows why your site is head and shoulders
above the competition, that's for sure.
I'm not sure whether to say thank you, or apologize profusely since
the letter was a complete fake.
I'm just going to say thanks!
hello again wheel's
Let's start with tale's,
the snes i don't remember the name of it
anymore it had something to do with magic sword's and i really enjoyed
it. I've been a fan since then and played those i managed to get ahold
of. Most recently i got ahold of vesperia and i really loved it
especially the main character i can't think of another rpg out there
with a main character like him. can you? i was excited to hear tale's
of grace's is coming out and look forward to playing it.
That was actually for PS1. The game
you're thinking of is Tales of
Destiny, and it does involve talking magical swords. Yuri is
quite a fun character, and of course is well-voiced in English. Based
my playtime with Tales of Graces F
in Japanese, I can tell you that it will be well worth the wait.
Next final fantasy I've lost
interest in versus after seeing the new trailer's I'm not really sure
why, tho I'm excited for xiii-2
and can't wait to find out more about it. my favorite ff is number 6 it's one that I've
replayed many time's i love the story and character's in that one as
well as the magic system, it's actually my favorite rpg ever. the only
one i really disliked was 8 i didn't like the character's in that one
and shortly after they revealed everyone had amnesia i just stopped
playing. with ff 12 i really
liked the battle system and most of the game but i found the story
boring and i hated the main character vaan.
Well I have to start with Final
Fantasy XII here, as I did not love the story, but the game was
amazing in the gameplay department. Vaan isn't even really the main
character, you can tell that he was basically forced into the
game. I hope we learn all the details of what happened during the
development of XII some day.
Anyway, I'm not sure why you've lost interest in Versus. I think it looks quite
amazing. XIII-2 I have high
hopes for, but will wait and see what the battle system in the game
VI is the best, so I am pleased to see you say this. It has one
of the best casts of characters in a game ever.
Now, Final Fantasy VIII I can
understand you not liking. I think you gave up on it too early. It's
got one of the more interesting battle systems in the series, and I
suggest that you give it another shot.
remember playing the first one and really enjoyed it i hadn't seen a
combat system like that before and the story seemed very different from
what i was used to. i played all 3
xenosaga game's because i liked xenogears so much. the first xenosaga was a decent game tho it
had it's flaw's, the second one i remember being confused by the story
and i hated the combat system tho i still beat it, then when the third
one came out i was amazed, I enjoyed the story and i really enjoyed
playing the game too after finishing it i was actually kind of sad it
would be the end of the saga.
I can't speak much about these games other than Xenogears. The cut-scenes were just
too much for me, and I'm one who likes long cut-scenes. I've been told
by a fellow staffer just to go straight to the third Xenosaga, what do you think of that?
You've mentioned the SaGa
series several time's i don't think I've played the ones your talking
about, but every time you mention them i think of a game i played on
the ps1 called SaGa Frontier
it was an interesting game i liked the art style it used and it had 7
different main character's each with there own story and ability's it
was a good game. i know it had a couple of sequels tho i never real got
into them. did you ever play it? if so what did you think of it?
I have played SaGa Frontier,
it was one of my favorite games for the PS1 in fact. Being the first
game from the SaGa series
localized since SaGa 3, it
was great to finally get to try many of the changes the series had
undergone during the SNES era. Despite the game's simple graphics, it
quite the meaty RPG.
I didn't know the psp could be hooked up to a TV that's
something i need to look into as i have several game's I'd love to play
more for it. i remember the snes and the gamecube having accessories
that let you play gameboy game's on them do you think portables will
keep doing this now that there adding the touch screen's to them?
You should check it out! I hear that apparently with the PSP Go you can
even connect a PS3 controller to it and use that. Overall it's a really
nice feature to have. Will this be in portables going forward? not
sure, but we shall see.
Last time I wrote in, I posed a little challenge
for you. Feel free to
hold onto this email until after you've replied. As to turning plot
concepts on their ear, there was one in particular that I had in mind
I made the challenge. Got a minute?
I have replied, but I will respond to
this one before you get to my crazy and dark "twisted tropes" idea. So
let's see what you've got.
The plot concept I wanted to play with was the
idea of ancient weapons
from a lost time becoming central to the plot in the present. Series
games that have used this include Wild ARMs, Tales of
Destiny, White Knight Chronicles, Shining Force Feather,
Xenogears, and I'm not sure how many others.
In some games, these
weapons seem almost to have a personality of their own, or in the case
of ToD, actually have more personality than some
of the major
characters. Let's work with this.
I like this idea a lot. There's a lot of JRPGs that use the whole
"ancient weapon" storyline, so I'm interested to see how you switch
The world I'd imagine would be one in a
post-industrial state of
neo-barbarism — that is, civilization has fallen but the old
technology was so well made that it still works in some regions.
Maintenance is done by rote repetition and ceremonial adherence to
procedures that few if any understand. Once something breaks down, it
cannot be fixed.
A very nice setup, gives it a somewhat
typical RPG feel, so people won't expect...well whatever it is you're
going to throw at them. Let's see...
This decline began five centuries before, in the
aftermath of a
devastating conflict between continents. At that time, several nations
devised weapons so advanced that when equipped they could direct a
warrior's attacks by their own volition, essentially making any yokel a
All right that seems pretty
typical...wait, what? A weapon that uses you? That put this joke in my
head: "In Soviet Russia, weapon wields YOU!".
These are the main characters of my story. Not the
yokels. The weapons.
Five hundred years later, the surviving sapient weaponry of the last
hide themselves from the public. Every government in the world has
declared them illegal and/or blasphemous, and they're to be destroyed
sight. In order to stay hidden, the weapons need to take hosts, and
where the fun begins. In this game, the weapons equip people. Scattered
across the world are cloning facilities. Originally meant for medical
purposes, they have been converted into clandestine "meat markets"
to the sapient weapon population.
All right that is pretty twisted. Are
these meat puppets, like real people with thoughts and emotions etc. or
just mindless host bodies? Either way that's a really cool concept. So
what would the ultimate weapons in the game be, clones on steroids or
Most weapons have a preferred physical type, but
else about the "equipment" is customizable. Each clone type has its own
of unchangeable base stats, and all experience and leveling are done on
part of the weapon. HP is a measure of how well the weapon can protect
"meat" from critical harm. Over time, a body builds up wear and tear
it becomes unable to perform powerful moves. At that point it can be
swapped out or upgraded to a better model.
All this talk is making me think of
the character Meat from Mortal Kombat. Now all I can
picture is a bunch of "Meat" characters running around a JRPG world.
That's probably not what you had in mind though...
For tradition's sake I'd say make the main
character a sword, but
really, any sort of weapon would work here. In fact, the weirder it is,
better. For an extra bit of insanity, I'd nominate as a major
the Super Happy Fun Ball.
not taunt the Super Happy Fun Ball.
Oh man, a sentient ball? That would be
creepy. I'm imagining Wakka from Final
Fantasy X, except of course it's the ball who's in charge...
But what to do for a plot hook? I can't really use
the weapons as the
MacGuffin for the game if they're the protagonists. Among all these
weapons, there's one that stands out. The reason for this is because
not actually a weapon. The Sapient Monkey Wrench was the last artifact
created in the great war, and it has only one use. In its vast memory
the knowledge and the skill needed to repair any piece of ancient
machinery. Left to its own devices, it could eventually bring the world
of its current dark age. The human governments all consider it to be a
weapon, however, and wish to have it destroyed.
I like that idea. The weapons have a
noble goal in restoring the world to its former glory, and have to
contend with pre-conceived notions that happen to be untrue. A story
type that's been used in the past, but it's a good one, and would work
very well here.
The weapons need it, however. Because, one by one,
the meat markets are
beginning to fail.
Scratch my "noble goal" idea. Damn
weapons just want their meat puppets? These don't sound like good guys
So, how about that idea?
Your fellow columnist,
I think this could be a fantastic game
if done right, and would be beast if the sentient weapons you control
aren't exactly the most noble characters. stories with moral ambiguity
are always fan. I'd pre-order such a game right away!
A Reply Months In the Making
I see you have this weeks edition of Q and A up!! like the miz says in
WWE "I'm the miz and I'm awwwsome!!" now you can say; "I'm Wheels and
I'm awwwsome!!" sorry for the other sad email I sent all is well now in
the land of Q and A LOL, anywho, I have almost all the tales games released in the U.S.
except tales of destiny (my
sis has it so it's in the family at lest:) and yes she is an avid RPG
gal thanks to your truly:) more WOW
now though. The other one that I'm missing is tales of symphonia 2 for the wii. AND NOW Tales of graces f will be a Tale that Forever Graces my ps 3 sometime this year:)
get it, get it, lol.
Whoops, this letter is actually from months ago when I was delayed in
posting Q&A by a day. At least The Miz just retained his title, so
that still appears timely. Anyway, Tales
Destiny isn't the best in the series (the remake we never got
has a great reputation), so I wouldn't worry about that. Symphonia 2 seems to be somewhat
well liked, so I would say that's well worth your time. My copy is
still sealed until I actually finish the first one. Gives me
some motivation to do so!
Now Tales of Graces F I know
you'll love, and I think the fanbase as a whole will. I'm a bit
disappointed with the reaction so far. There's been far too
much complaining that they aren't also bringing over the PS3 port of Tales of Vesperia. I just don't
get how people could pass up excitement of a brand new title because of
a missed enhanced port of a nearly three year old game. What gives? The
best thing for the series in the west going forward is for new games to
come out here, not ports, no matter how enhanced they are. Come on
people, Graces F is great!
That's all for this episode! Still wait for new hot topic suggestions,
so feel free to send those in, or whatever else is on your mind.
'Til next week
Current Backlog: So Many PSP Games
March 9th: Wheels
March 23rd: Wheels
March 30th: Wheels
April Fools: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Tales of Graces F in English!
2. Disgaea 4
4. El Shaddai
5. Deus Ex Human Revolution
On my Playlist:
1. Trails in the Sky Soundtrack
3. Various Ys Soundtracks
1. Does Resonance of Fate deserve a sequel
(spiritual or otherwise)?
2. Should Konami continue the main series storyline of Suikoden, or
start fresh (if they make another Suikoden game)?
3. What character are you angry about not being in Dissidia 2?
4. Golden Sun Dark Dawn appears to be a success. Is it time for a
console entry in the series?
5. Should Bioware make another Jade Empire game?