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ASK WHEELS
Class of Q&A Heroes
  May 3rd, 2013

05/03- 7:00PM EST

Well the pre-orders for that soon to be very rare physical version of Class of Heroes 2 have gone up, and I've ordered an extra copy to give away right here! However dear readers, you're going to have to work for this prize. To enter to win this prize you must send me a 500 words or less essay comparing and contrasting two games with some sort of clear thesis. Be creative! Don't just go the typical route and compare Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII or something. I'll respond to and grade all entries on Q&A! Don't worry, your essay doesn't have to be brilliant to win, everyone that sends me one will have an equal chance to win. There will also be a second place prize, a shiny import copy of Tales of Rebirth for PS2. I may do some kind of third place prize as well. This contest will run until the last day of May.

Anyway, on to the letters (and don't forget to check out my review of Soul Sacrifice!





The Letters
Tales of Importing

@AskWheels [Q&A] Please remind me why importing Tales of Innocence R and/or Tales of Hearts R is a dumb idea :P

@severinmira


Wheels

What an excellent question! As it turns out only one of these is a dumb idea. That would be Tales of Innocence R. The original was well known due to a fan translation being released. Though that translation was quality work, the game itself was a pretty average Tales game with not a lot going for it in regards to the battle system. The remake didn't help in this regard, somehow making the battles feel even more generic, and not exactly highlighting the power of the Vita. It's just not a great Tales game.

Tales of Hearts R is a completely different story however. Featuring a fast paced MP-free battle system similar to Tales of Graces, the game is an evolution of the Tales of Destiny Remake-type games that never came out over here. It also ditched a world map in a similar manor to Tales of Graces. It's largely linear so it is pretty easy to play through a lot of it. I can't speak for the remake at all, as I'm unsure of the changes, but your best bet to play the game is probably still the original DS version. It came in two editions, one with anime style cut-scenes and one with computer animation style cut-scenes. Since they are the same game beyond that the less popular computer animation version is often cheaper and an absolute steal. So long story short, Tales of Hearts in any form is recommended, and Tales of Innocence is a resounding "meh."

The Hottest Topics

Hello Wheels,

Some hot topics answers.
1. I think a little bit of marketing that reaches mainstream sites goes a long way. I think something more traditionally turn-based from Square-Enix like Bravely Default was going to be fine, but the success of Fire Emblem: Awakening probably increased interest in Japanese strategy RPGs.


Wheels

I hope so. It's a genre I very much enjoy and would love to see more games from. I think the success of XCOM and other PC turn-based strategy games also helps as well. Still it's a shame that we missed out on the previous Fire Emblem game, and I think it is becoming clear that was a mistake on Nintendos part. C'est la vie..

2. I think it will, with Nintendo's help. I don't see it coming out until 2014 at the earliest.


Wheels

I agree here as well. Nintendo has brought the Dragon Quest titles they've published to the West around a year after their original releases, so still plenty of time for this one to come out. Combine that with the success they had with Dragon Quest IX on DS and it seems highly unlikely that such a huge title wouldn't be localized. Of course stranger things have happened, but I don't expect them to in this case. I think what we will likely miss are the two other 3DS Dragon Quest titles.

3. I think it should be the last Dragon Quest MMO. I just don't know if enough of the core fanbase cares for MMOs.


Wheels

It would appear they do not, given it hasn't been a smash hit in Japan like most games in the series. I have to at least give Square Enix credit for trying something new with the series, which is not something the series is known for. I would expect Dragon Quest XI and all other foreseeable titles in the future to stick to a more traditional approach, with the only possible multiplayer coming in the form of something similar to Dragon Quest IX.

4. Well, at first I was going to put forth Suikoden as a candidate for Kickstarter, but that's one complicated issue (like is it really dead or not and the very struggles the Suikoden fanbase is having with Konami despite pretty good visibility of their own revival moment), so I'm going to go with Grandia. Even though I didn't like Grandia 3 that much because of its plot, I know that if the creators didn't have to rush the game (especially the plot) would have been better. There's really no equivalent series to the Grandia series either.


Wheels

I don't understand, why couldn't Konami do a kickstarter themselves for such a game? You seem to be suggesting that someone else revive the franchise, which obviously isn't going to happen. Could be a good way for Konami to gauge serious interest in a return to the original timeline of the series. Grandia is a good choice though. The original developers (now owned by GungHo) aren't exactly flowing in cash so that would seem like a realistic project. I'm not sure if any Japanese developers have used kickstarters yet, but I wouldn't mind seeing them be the first.

Now for my own question. I've been working my way through Ys II (rather slowly as other things have distracted me). I just beat Zava who is considered one of the hardest bosses in Ys II after about 15 tries. It gives me a bit of hope that the final boss of Ys II won't take 200+ tries like I believe Ys I's final boss did.


Wheels

I hope not! It probably depends on which version of the game you're playing (and on what difficulty setting). At least bosses in Ys II are a little more dynamic because you have magic and not just your regular attacks. Keep at it!

1) Who was the hardest boss for you in a Ys game?


Wheels

I would have to say that the hardest boss for me would be the final battle in Ys Seven on hard. The battle is complex, requiring you to use different groups of characters and do lots of precise dodging. I had to do a fair amount of grinding to eventually conquer it, but such is what I expect when playing on Hard. The feeling of accomplishment when I finally took it down was amazing.

2) Is there a boss/bosses that you had a hard time beating but you actually loved playing the battle over and over again?


Wheels

That would be the final boss on the PC version of Oath in Felghana (on hard of course). The music for that battle is incredible, and the perfect mix of the skills learned through the game required to win just make it an absolute joy to play. Took me awhile to finally beat it, but I didn't mind at all. Keep in mind that the PC version has no way to heel mid-battle, so you have to be careful to avoid as many hits as possible.

3) What's the best Ys song? (I know...how can you choose?)

-riulyn


Wheels

That's an impossible call to make! I'd say so far though, my favorites are the final boss themes in Oath in Felghana and in Ys Seven. Final boss music is always important and those games go well and beyond. You are right though, an impossible choice to pick only one Ys song!

Final Essay Fantasy

You should totally make the 5 RPG essays one of your hot topics.


Wheels

I should! I'll handle that next week since there's someone this week responding to the current hot topics.

Speaking of the essays: my thesis would definitely be how Final Fantasy 6 blows 7 out of the water.


Wheels

Well you certainly have come to the right place with that argument. I would happily write that essay and explain in great detail why this is so. Poor Final Fantasy VII has taken a beating from VI fans over the years!

My Super Mario RPG vs. Paper Mario essay would be about how, while Paper Mario translates the Mario FEEL from the platformers to RPG, Super Mario RPG is a much, MUCH better RPG.


Wheels

I'm not sure I'd completely agree if we were talking about the second Paper Mario game. Still, if the objective is to create a Mario RPG the Paper Mario series is the best result that could come out of it. Super Mario RPG has some issues. I love both though, so I wouldn't spend too much time quibbling. For the most part you are right though, not that this makes Super Mario RPG a better game.

Essay 3: A discussion of how many Western gamers are big babies in regards to Final Fantasy 13.  (Not going to TOUCH the sequels...)


Wheels

Yeah, as many issues as it does have, Final Fantasy XIII is a fine game in my opinion. There are plenty of far worse RPGs out there. I also will not touch the sequels, but I just don't get some of the insane hate pointed towards the game. Yes it isn't brilliant, but it also isn't the worst thing ever.

Essay 4: A discussion of how much better Final Fantasy 12 would have been if Matsuno hadn't left in the middle (I mean, seriously, the plot in the second half just seems to become a train wreck of a Star Wars parody).


Wheels

That would be a great essay. Too bad we don't have more inside info on the topic. What's amazing to me is just how fantastic the game turned out despite the fact Matsuno left in the middle of development. I guess we can only ponder what could have been. I think we would be seeing XII at the top of many favorite game lists had Matsuno been left alone to develop it.

Essay 5: A point-by-point analysis of why Square-Enix needs to be banned from making iOS games.


Wheels

Well that's a bit much. Is that directly at the high prices, or that terrible Final Fantasy game they realease? Either way, there's far worse developers on the platform. Not only that, but some of their efforts have been fantastic. The The World Ends With You port is brilliant, and I actually find Theatrhythm to be much more at home on iOS.

And for the questions, I see a newer one that really stands out to me: question 3.  Will Dragon Quest 10 be the first and last DQ MMORPG?

Unfortunately, you and I both know that it won't be the last one.  Square-Enix REALLY want a blockbuster MMORPG, and they seem willing to destroy the company to make one (hell, look at how much of a dive their profits took the year they launched Final Fantasy 14. Final Fantasy 11 did really well when it came out, and it seems to me that Square Enix's pride never recovered after World of Warcraft nearly killed it when it came out. 

Fayted


Wheels

As you can probably see from the last letter, I'm not so sure in this case. If we were talking Final Fantasy I would absolutely agree we'll see a new FF MMORPG in the future. FFXI was a constant source of income for them so I'm sure they want to find another game to do that (and I'm sure there's some crazy enough to think they can get World of Warcraft subscription numbers).  Dragon Quest on the other hand, doesn't seem like it would be a good idea to try again as an MMORPG anytime soon. Japan is still far and away the primary territory for that series and they need to keep those fans engaged.

Part the First

Mr. Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round! Let's see how much content I can supply for you, eh?

First off, you'll be happy to know that making a Robin Hood game for Olivia de Havilland would work out just fine. Honestly, it's Robin Hood - tons of stupid soldiers serving the sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John, that movie had multiple sword fights and other action sequences. So combat opportunities are easy to find.


Wheels

Dang it, now I have that song stuck in my head!

Good to know I did well with that Robin Hood RPG idea. I had to come up with something pretty quickly!

Now then, let's put Spencer Tracy in an RPG.  Shouldn't be too hard.


Wheels

Some day you'll ask for one of these using an actor or actress I've heard of! Well since I'm a fan of the newer version, let's go with a bizarre Father of the Bride RPG. The game would not necessarily follow the plot of either movie, but rather put you in the role of the father played by Spencer Tracy as he goes through finding out about who his daughter is going to marry and whether its the right move. It would focus solely on character interaction, possibly with some wandering around the local town.

Recently I took it upon myself for reasons that remain hard to understand to play Shining Soul. It kind of stinks. I realize most early Shining games didn't have spectacular plots, but what little narrative there is in this contradicts all the earlier games and is just aggravating. As for being a generic action RPG - it does that. Kill tons of enemies for their juicy experience points, fill the inventory and see if anything good was dropped, then keep going through increasingly long and featureless stages. It's a remarkably easy game to play while listening to something else, I've found, because it requires little attention and the music is unworthy of experiencing. Ah, but now I'm finding enemies that move faster. Makes no difference, since I can just walk through them while they start attack animations and 19 times out of 20 avoid the hit they were trying to land, but it does force me to move a little more. Yippee. Seems Grasshopper and NexTech were responsible for this thoroughly unimpressive title. Good for their resumes, eh?


Wheels

Sounds like a dull experience. I remember trying to play the original Shining Soul and finding just as boring as you describe. I have the second game as well, which I guess is better, but I can't find any motivation to actually play it. Not sure why Sega chose to go with action RPGs for the first non-Camelot Shining games. Shining Wisdom isn't exactly the darling of the series right?

It doesn't exactly hold up, but imagine how this felt back when there hadn't been any Shining games since III. If only it wasn't the harbinger of where Sega was going to take the series. It seems Japan eats this stuff up though, so we'll probably just keep getting them, although lately they don't cross the ocean. Too bad?

No really, that's a question. Is that a bad thing?


Wheels

I don't think it's a bad thing at all actually. Other than Shining Force Feather which you've vouched for there isn't much there to build a new fan base here in the West. They've released the original two games on enough platforms, and I think they hold up surprisingly well. Imagine the horror of someone going from one of those to one of the newer games. It's a shame, because I think with the current popularity of Fire Emblem there's a real place in the market for something like the classic Shining Force games. In fact, imagine if Intelligent Systems got their hands on the IP! No, it's too cruel to imagine such a dream.

Gear shift! To get you back into Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation, I will tell you of The Man. He goes by either Elzam or Ratsel, but he's a damn fine pilot who can be put into pretty much anything and will kick ass. One mission in OG 2 finds him singlehandedly beating off about 30 enemies, might have been more, that's how awesome he is. The trick to him is very simple. In this series character themes start playing the instant someone gets into a skirmish and you let the animations go. Bosses have their own themes, and those override the normal character themes. Except for The Man. His theme is Trombe!, and it overrides boss tunes. Because it's awesome, because he's awesome, and a onetime glitch just because standard practice.


Wheels

OK that has gotten me interested again. I think my GBA will soon be fired up with some Super Robot Taisen. I must learn more of this person!

TO BE CONTINUED...
IN CLOSING

That's it for this week!

Q&A will be off next week, so get those entries in!

I think I STILL owe the King of Content a connection challenge.

Hmnn....

*Runs away again*

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What I Can't Wait For:

1. Ys Vita

2. SMT IV

3. Rune Factory 4

4. Lords of Shadow 2

5. Tales of Xillia

On my Playlist:

1. Green Day

2. Blink 182

3. Less Than Jake

4. Queen

5. Castlevania Soundtracks

Hot Topics:

1. Does the success of Fire Emblem Awakening indicate main stream turn-based games are still possible?

2. Will Dragon Quest VII 3DS come to the West?

3. Dragon Quest X hasn't been a huge success, will this be the first and last Dragon Quest MMO?

4. What RPG series would you like to see revived via kickstarter?

5. Now that Thief 4 has been revealed, what do you want to see out of the game?
 
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