|All Punned Out
|April 28th, 2011
04/28- 12:00PM EST
So with my Clash of Heroes HD
review complete, lately I've been playing...Clash of Heroes on DS! Yeah, I'm
crazy. I've also started to play Resonance
again, which is a big danger to my free time.
new games, I've been diving back into Trails
the Sky along with the latest version of Final Fantasy IV (and lots of Mortal Kombat as well). It is a
good time to be a fan of RPGs! What are all of you playing
Time to jump into the letters and find out...
My first letter writing in, but not the first I've wanted to write; I'm
very prone to distraction!
To start, I just wanted to write a comment about the Suikoden topic. I think Suikoden
could and should continue on as it always has in the main series,
because other than III no
title really requires intimate knowledge of
the previous games to fully appreciate them (and even that was just to
impress on the player the importance of the Masked Bishop reveal).
Honestly, other than Harmonia and the Sindar (the big unanswered
questions in the main series) and the completely forgotten
Yuber/Pesmerga arc, there is almost no confusing moment where something
explained says "oh but you have to know about this game", and even each
game's reference to the global themes is specifically tailored to how
it affects the nation in question. Even the early games refer to future
locations effortlessly as a bit of foreshadowing, so the order in which
you play them isn't important. Viki and Jeane seem to be reboots every
game as is. Also, for the record, I played Suikoden II before I, and
the whole background relationship with Flik & Victor, the Star
Dragon Sword, and Neclord, along with the Scarlet Moon Empire was
established well enough to stand alone. So yeah, Suikoden VI can be
just like all the others - a new nation with a new True Rune wreaking
havoc on some poor character's fate. Whether or not it refers to other
known nations or characters is a plus. What I would like to see though,
and maybe I'm a bit biased, but why don't True Runes ever pick a female
You know, I think you have a point. You may need to have played all of
the games to see the overall interconnected narrative, but the titles
really don't require that you play any of the previous games. Based on
my time with the first two Suikoden games,
in II that are
returning from the first game are introduced in such a way so that new
players can get a feel for them. On that note, I wonder why they
decided to make such a big departure for the DS game? I know it is
somewhat connected to the overall series, but I don't think it was the
right move for the health of the series.
I'd really like to see a Suikoden VI
on any system, even as a downloadable title. For your sake, here's
hoping it has a female protagonist! The series is due for one. Better
yet, maybe it's time they follow in BioWare's footsteps and make the
gender of the main character a choice?
We were just talking about Dragon
Quest on Twitter and a few questions
came to mind I'd like to ask.
The big question is: What sort of direction would you like to see Dragon Quest X
go? For platforms, I'm highly doubtful they will
stick to the Wii release now, as we've heard little news since the
original announcement of the game. I know their policy for DQ has
always been the platform with the most support, but if this new
Nintendo console is as imminent as rumors say then a Wii release of
such a high profile title probably isn't the best plan, and other
consoles are starting to catch up. As far as gameplay... on its
own, Dragon Quest IX is about
as close to a single-player MMO
experience as I've ever played. I seriously had flashbacks to FFXI
(including the main story) while playing the game, right down to
tedious "AF" quests to get each vocations' specialized armor.
Well, minus the catgirls - although you can wear cat ear headbands to
make up for it. But I'm not sure I want the same feel for the
next game in the series. I know they are establishing a new
identity with VIII and IX after years of the traditional
I think I would prefer another game more like VIII with a much more
linear and expansive main story. However, IX seemed to find a new
compromise by making the main game fairly quick (compared to all other
games in the series), and keeping an enormous amount of side content
locked until after the story is finished. Don't get me wrong, I loved
the story to IX, and found it
actually interesting once it got going
near the end, but I kind of missed having that ongoing reminder of the
urgency to keep going forward. Stella's suggestions were ok in
that regard I guess, but she never really interacted with anyone other
than the main character for a huge portion of the story. But
gameplay-wise, I love the alchemy pot and the new skill system they've
come up with, and IX's
re-integration of the older game's vocations was
a nice touch (but the lack of a "Hero" was annoying). Do all
these elements carry over to X,
a new angle?
Also, is turn-based with text narration running its course? We do
know they planned to get rid of it in the original design for IX, but
fans fought back...
Phew, sorry, I tend to ramble on when thinking about these games.
I have a few more questions, but I think I've wrote enough for now :)
Until next time!
Based on comments I've seen recently, it appears that Dragon Quest X will still be coming
to the Wii (Dragon Quest XI
will go to 3DS in my opinion). They seem to realize that fans still
prefer the games on consoles, and I expect Dragon Quest X to be more story
focused. I'm sure it will be similar to Dragon Quest VIII in scope, which
certainly isn't a bad thing. That game did well here, and could mean
good things for X's chances
in the west. That's not to say that they should ignore everything they
accomplished in IX. A lot of
the new features are more suited for future portable titles, but it'd
interesting if they featured a way to have dungeon maps you find
automatically be sent to Wiis that you have on your friend list.
even include online multiplayer of some sort? I'm sure we'll see the
alchemy pot and a similar skill system, and perhaps even vocations for
the second game in a row. I hope they reveal the game at E3, as I'm
very eager to see what the game looks like. I just hope that it doesn't
turn out like Dragon Quest VII,
out too close to the end of a console's lifespan! Anyway, look
forward to hearing from you again, hopefully we'll have some concrete DQX details to talk about soon!
P.S. The text battle logs are getting a bit old, I think they're just
there for tradition's sake at this point.
So, I read your challenge to Gajin about a Monster Hunter-esque variant on
another series, and decided to take it up myself since I've been
greatly enjoying this game idea discussion. I must preface this,
with the fact that i have never actually played an actual Monster
Hunter game, so this is based on my general impressions of
Regardless, I hope you enjoy.
Excellent! I wasn't sure if anyone else would take up the challenge,
and glad to see someone jump on it. The Monster Hunter games are pretty
easy to get a general idea of, so I'm sure you know the basics of the
series. Let's see what you've got!
The original Baroque was a
rogue-like dungeon crawler for PS2/Wii that remained fairly obscure and
got a lot of criticism for various reasons (some legitimate). I
loved it however, especially for its bizarre and creepy yet fascinating
world, story, characters, and concepts which merit further
exploration. This game would be its spiritual successor, or
really a re-imagining of it, combining the original's hack-and-slash
rogue-like gameplay with Monster
Hunter style epic boss hack-and-slash combat. Without
further ado, I present:
Alright, that's certainly a great start. I could never get myself
interested enough to pick up Baroque,
the sound of it, it contained a pretty unique post-apocalyptic
world. Perhaps it's time I finally give it a try? Anyway, I like the
basic idea, especially if you keep some of the rogue-like qualities.
Premise (nearly identical to the original game):
The world as we know it was destroyed by the Blaze, what remains is a
wasteland populated by the twisted few who could survive by holding on
to a "Baroque," some delusion that has warped their existence around
it, both in mind and body. For some, this was relatively mild
allowing them to live, well I can't call them normal lives, but at
least seek pursue their strange agendas with some semblance of rational
thought. These are the game's NPCs. For many others,
however, they completely succumbed, becoming "Meta-beings," the even
more bizarre monsters of the world, with barely any human resemblance
remaining (they include moving walls with faces, strange wicker-like
electric dolls, four armed cleptomaniac like creatures that hop around
on their tail, all based of some aspect of the human psyche taken to
Few remember much, if anything of before the Blaze, and those that do
aren't talking. The one thing that does remain, though is the
Neuro Tower, a strange dungeon that forms the home of the Order of
Malkuth, a strange religious/scientific organization seemingly
associated with the Blaze and the state of the world since. Their
whose baroques have largely modeled them after angels (although
frequently bizarrely twisted), and the protagonist is associated with
them. The protagonist themself remembers is surprisingly close to
normal human but bears a strong sense of guilt about something he
cannot remember (yes, I know the amnesia cliche, but in this case it's
pretty much a global thing). A leader of the Order of Malkuth
approaches him, gives him a huge rifle with a single, special bullet,
and tells him to enter the Neuro Tower and redeem his sins by killing
That sounds like what I remember reading about the basic setup of Baroque, and that's pretty fine.
Since multi-player is required for a Monster
clone, where do other players come in?
who have all received the same special gun? Well let's see if you
it for me...
Okay, so far,the setup is virtually identical to the original game, but
here's where things change. It will still be a roguelike with
most items and level resetting each time you die or complete the
dungeon. But there will be many more, but shorter dungeons
available. Each dungeon will have a specific them in some part of
the human psyche (say rage, sorrow, love, or self-restraint) with
enemies, traps, and overall design focused around it. All of it
will build up to a boss, which will be the biggest difference between
Redemption and the original game. In the original, there weren't
really any, and on the final floor God awaited you to either shoot or
accept as you decided. In this case, instead, "God" will not be
in the least bit peaceful. After climbing to the final floor, you
will face a "God," an ultimate metabeing warped around the dungeons
concept. For example, the dungeon of sorrow might have its boss
be a gigantic tree-like plant which weeps acid, or something else
suitably strange. These would be the epic bosses requiring not
only skill and precise strategies. The entire dungeon would be
building up to it, as for example in given dungeons you would find find
specific items which would be on theme and have specific uses against
its boss (I guess kind of like a Zelda
boss in some ways).
I see, so these giant boss fights would essentially be equivalent to
the larger monsters that you hunt in the Monster Hunter series. It's a very
interesting setup, and so far meets my requirements. It's a subtle, but
smart change from the original game. There's a lot of potential here to
make some interesting bosses that play on dark twists of the human
psyche. You've got me sold so far! We still need to answer the
multi-player question however...
The key is that there would be two ways to defeat, or redeem, each
god. One would be to utterly annihilate it with a shot from the
rifle, which would require fighting until you can position yourself for
a shot at its undefended core. In order to do this, in the
previous levels of the dungeon, you would have to craft a bullet of the
god's antithesis. The other option would be to destroy the part
of the boss which is the focus of its Baroque, thus restoring it to a
more normal state and "healing" it of its delusions. In order to
do this, you would have to gain a greater understanding of the god's
original history and identity (say what it was before the Blaze) and
find some item to return it to normal. Either path would have its
own unique approach to the dungeon and the boss battle, and would also
encompass a different approach to the dungeon itself and its substory
in which you are either finding the bosses bane or its cure within the
dungeon (which would be rather weird in themselves and have their own
Wow, I'm not sure if you intended this or not, but this actually sounds
like an incredible twist on some of Monster
Hunter's core crafting mechanics. Having to get into position to
fire at the core reminds me of some quests in Monster Hunter that require you to
weaken a monster and then lure it into a trap. Both involve weakening
the monster and then some precise positioning. Your other musings seem
like a nice way to replace the basic concepts of gathering and
crafting, which is great. Gathering is by far what I like least about Monster Hunter.
Once you've done one of these two, this would trigger the rebirth of
the world, and your level/etc. would reset, but there would be some
changes. A new dungeon would open, but more importantly NPCs
related to the previous god's theme would be closer to normal (or maybe
have a new delusion to solve). You, as a character, would also
have a tattoo representing that god giving you some new
power/defense/or ability for use in future dungeons and allowing some
permanent progress. Previous dungeons would be refought to
strengthen their tattoo and change the decision you made if you want.
A great way to add a measure of replay value to the game. Monster Hunter of course does this
by throwing increasingly difficult monsters and quest objectives at
you, and this is certainly a great alternative. Now I'm probably going
to buy Baroque and wish it
was your game!
So as noted above each dungeon would have its own lesser story focused
around its God and either crafting the bullet to kill it or how to free
it from its delusions. Through these dungeons, however, an
over-arcing story would be crafted revealing the activities of the
Order of Malkuth leading up to the Blaze, and maybe even hinting at a
way to reverse it.
A great idea, and a bigger reliance on story would certainly stand to
separate it from many of the other Monster
clones out there. I know Gods Eater seems to try a focus on
story as well, but from what I've seen it brings a lot of anime
tropes along with it. This would be much more interesting!
Now some of this is pretty high concept, and I haven't thought through
how one would handle all of the ramifications of some of the choices
(what happens if you choose to either destroy or redeem, say, love,
rage, or self-restraint). That said, are do you have any ideas
for cool aspects of humanity to incorporate and how you would design a
dungeon and boss around them? Also, do you have any aspects of
this game that you'd like to know more about, as I'd love to flesh it
I'd really like to hear how you'd do multiplayer, this being a
requirement for a Monster Hunter
clone. I have a feeling you'll have some really cool ideas for this, so
please write back in with them! That being said, the high concept idea
really appeals to me. I wish there were more games that explored the
psyche. Please send in some more details about this idea!
Welcome to the Silent Movie Era
Wheels... is that a slightly shortened reference
to Wheelers? Did this nickname come from a Return to Oz viewing?
It did not! It's actually kind of a
stupid story, but I'll save that for another time. Suffice it to say
that it's not a nickname I chose myself!
Aww... you like my obscure six
degrees of separation games. You know you do! On that
note... connect The Birth of a Nation
to Sakura Taisen.
Oh come on! How am I supposed to connect a silent movie to any video
game? Well let's see if I can do it. Birth
of a Nation was directed
by D.W. Griffith -> D.W. Griffith helped found the
studio United Artists -> United Artists is currently owned by MGM
-> MGM's video game division, MGM Interactive, debuted with the game
for Sega's Sega CD system
-> Sega publishes the Sakura
Taisen series. Alright, maybe it wasn't that hard..
So after playing some Valkyrie Profile, I've become a bit
more curious about the rest of tri-Ace's output.
I sampled the original Star
Ocean(yes, the Super Famicom edition) and didn't care for it,
but now I wonder a bit. What knowledge of the Star Ocean franchise do you
possess? These things comprise quite a bit of tri-Ace's catalog,
so each game probably deserves mention.
I know a bit about the Star Ocean series. I've played the
PSP version of the first Star Ocean,
although it's likely better than the original Famicom edition, I
didn't find it to be all that interesting other than being a pretty
massive game. RPGamer's own David McBurney tells me that the second
game in the series is far better, and just overall a great game. I
wonder if I shouldn't just skip right to it. Star Ocean 3 I hate with a burning
passion. I think it contains one of the worst plot twists in all of
game, that serves to ruin the mythology of the whole series. I didn't
even care for its game mechanics, even had the story been good. It does
have has its fans on staff and among the readers, so I'm likely not the
best person to get a fair opinion of that game from. As for the most
game, it has a terrible story but the battle system is great, so if
you can get it cheap and skip the insanely long cut-scenes you should
be able to get some enjoyment out of it.
Apparently this Resonance
Fate title has acquired copious praise, from you among others?
Fate is a unique title that I would recommend everyone at
least try. Focused more on the game mechanics than it is on story, the
game gives you a lot of freedom to explore and experiment with the
battle system. I've already talked too much about the game on Q&A,
so I will just leave it at that. Play it!
What about Infinite Undiscovery?
the greatest or the worst RPG ever made.
I haven't played it yet, but I've
heard the same. I get the feeling it is nothing more than an
exceedingly average game. Which is fine, not every game needs to be the
best thing ever. I'll let you know more once I give it a try.
One more. Radiata Stories has
a certain audience, and while I'll probably play it in the future, your
thoughts would be illuminating.
I recently started playing this game,
and was quite impressed with the colorful graphics, and the fact that
its one of the few PS2 games that can run in progressive scan mode. So
far the story has been pretty light-hearted. I've heard this changes
later on, but it's nice to see that it doesn't take itself too
seriously. The battle system is action-based, similar to Star Ocean,
and you can collect characters in a Suikoden-like
So, right now I am eager to play the rest of the game. This
could be quite good!
That's it for tri-Ace, actually. The Valkyrie Profile games
don't count because I'm playing them anyway (though you're welcome to
expound on the subject).
I'll just expand by saying that I
actually like the DS Valkyrie Profile
game so far. Including a mechanic that forces you to sacrifice
characters, permanently, is quite interesting. The game has some issues
for sure, but at least it tries something new. I plan on playing
through the original Valkyrie Profile
sometime soon as well.
Instead, ever play Crusader of Centy? I wish I could remember
it better - good thing I wrote a review,
I've never even heard of Crusader of Centy, must have been
an early title on the Genesis, which means I would have missed it.
Looks like an interesting Zelda-type
has it made it to Virtual Console?
So there's this thing called Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. I have
ill memories of it, but since its development staff has a lot of names
you've enjoyed the work of (though Akitoshi Kawazu's name seems
absent), I presume you can appreciate it better than I. Is this
Not exactly. I had fun with it as a
kid, but there's nothing really special about the game. It's just an
overly simple take on the Final
Fantasy series. I'd never call it a bad game of course, but
It's not something I go back to often like I do with the Final Fantasy and SaGa classics.
Bonus fun - another connection! Link Buster Keaton to Infinite
Space! Don't you dare relegate Buster Keaton to the annals of 'some
old-time movie guy' either, a man who did his own stunts (which almost
every silent actor did, actually) while doing such dangerous things as
riding on the grill at the front of a locomotive deserves better than
Riding on the grill of a locomotive?
That's crazy! Sounds like more than a lot of modern actors would do.
Anyway, let's see if I can pull this off. Buster Keaton was in an
episode of The Twilight Zone
-> Midway made a Twilight Zone
pinball machine -> Warner Bros. purchased most of Midway's assets
-> WB distributed Space Jam
-> Sega made a Space Jam
pinball machine -> Sega published Infinite
Your mission: put Bruce Lee into an RPG - and do it well.
Bruce Lee must enter a tournament to
save Earth Realm from the invading armies of Outworld. I present to you
sir, Mortal Kombat RPG: The Bruce
Lee Story. You're going to hate me!
You and I know the awesomeness that is Guardian Heroes (not so
much its sequel, though it's not terrible), but how many of the people
reading this know? I'm out of material for now. You should have enough
to satiate the inbox, anyway.
I hope they all know that Guardian Heroes is a brilliant
game. The game still commands a hefty price on eBay, so I have faith
that the gaming populace as a whole knows of its greatness. I mean,
Treasure has a pretty devoted following, right? Granted that's mostly
for their other games, but still.
Thank you sir, as always, for the excellent questions!
Welcome to the Complaints Department
Over a year or so ago I had the extreme displeasure of playing through
this overrated piece of BACON (editor's
Survivor) thanks to reviews
such as yours who piously proclaimed that even those who didn't
normally like tactical RPGs would enjoy the game. I don't normally
enjoy tactical RPGs but still didn't BACONing
for conning me into pissing away from money on this piece of BACON.
-A Very Angry Dude
Wow, I don't even know how to respond to you. No one conned you out of
your money, you simply
happened to not like a game that many people did like, even those who
normally don't like tactical RPGs, as the reviews stated. I know
several people whom this was the case for. As a more overall point, I
find it pretty insulting that you would suggest the reviews were trying
to "con" you into wasting money on the game. A review is an opinion,
not a guarantee that you will like a game if the review says it is
good. The reviews in question are the honest opinions of those
reviewers, and they certainly aren't the only ones who liked Devil Survivor. It's merely a tool
to help you decide whether or not you may like the game. I have a
feeling that you just looked at the scores and pluses and minuses, and
didn't actually read either of the reviews on rpgamer. Had you actually
read them I'm sure you would have gotten the feeling that the game was
not for you. Now had you been complaining about Macstorm's review of Crystal Bearers we may have had
something to talk about, but there's nothing more to say here. Also
what is your obsession with bacon? Very strange...
That's all for this week! As some of you may have seen, there was a
quick little contest on the AskWheels twitter,
and I'll be doing more
of those in the future, so keep an eye on it! I'm also wondering if,
once PSN is back up, you readers would want to have a Dissidia 012 tournament via Ad Hoc
Party? Let me know!
Next week, I've got Gaijin's response to my challenge, another letter
from the complaint department, and more!
'Til next week
April Fools: Wheels
April 7th: Wheels
April 14th: Wheels
April 20th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Beyond the Labyrinth
2. Disgaea 4
4. El Shaddai
5. Tales of Graces F in English!
On my Playlist:
1. The World Ends With You Soundtrack
3. Resonance of Fate Soundtrack
1. How much can someone's perspective/mood change
whether or not they enjoy a game?
2. Did BioWare/EA rush Dragon Age II out too soon?
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. What makes Falcom's games so different than other Japanese games,
and why have they been able to have success on odd platforms for so