|The World Ends With
|May 19th, 2011
05/19- 12:00PM EST
Well PSN is finally back, and I took advantage by playing some Mortal Kombat (just the free trial
since I can't activate my online pass), Lost Planet 2, and Portal 2. Of course I still can't
pickup Threads of Fate until
the store comes back, but I have my always full backlog to distract me.
On to the letters, and then, the next contest!
The World Ends With this Letter
I'm curious about this game I recently saw a friend of mine playing. It
is a DS game called The World Ends With You. This friend who shall
remain nameless (let's call him Tires) totally couldn't figure out how
to describe the game. But I said to myself, why, it's okay, because
surely Wheels will be able to describe this game where Tires failed!
So, go for it! But I need a good explanation now. Not some quick and
simple one that tells me nothing about the game.
Well, it really is a difficult game to describe, but I will do my best.
Ends With You takes place in modern Japan, specifically in the
Shibuya district of Tokyo. The main character, Neku, somehow gets
sucked into some kind of alternate version of Shibuya, where people
have to play a game run by mysterious "reapers" to keep from being
erased. I haven't completed it yet, but the story is apparently quite
good, and has a lot of twists and turns. The game is primarily
controlled with the stylus, and uses the two screen setup of the DS to
its fullest. On the bottom screen you control Neku with the stylus,
controlling his psychic powers in a number of different ways, including
tapping enemies, drawing lines of fire, and flinging objects. On the
top screen you control Neku's partner, of which there are multiple
through the game. You do this by entering simple commands with the
D-pad. Control two characters at once is quite frantic, but thankfully
the game will auto-pilot the character on the top screen if you aren't
controlling them. The game is unique, and there aren't any titles out
there that compare to it at all.
I really suggest you give it a chance!
Recent archive binger, first time writer with some Final Fantasy
questions and something to consider for one of your hot topics.
Excellent! Always good to hear from new people, let's see what's on
First, a little background - I've beaten Final Fantasy 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 10. I tend
to prefer games with simpler combat systems - which is why I owned FF3 DS for over 4 years
before I beat it, and ignored SMT
Strange Journey in
lieu of Sands of Destruction.
Nothing wrong with that. Playing games should be a relaxing experience,
and often games with deep and complex systems can just become stressful
when trying to manage everything. Strange
Journey can be especially challenging at times, with teleporter
mazes and other exploration challenges in addition to the challenging
I'm looking to finish as many Final
Fantasy games as I can before the year's out - sort of like the
Year of Final Fantasy you
guys did last year on the boards before I had occasion to sign up.
Sounds like a fun thing to do, I recently did this before XIII came out, finishing the Final Fantasy games I had yet to
complete, those being II, III, V,
VIII, and XII.
Featuring games from all of the different eras of Final Fantasy games, it was a lot
of fun to see how much the series has changed over the years.
So that leaves me with 2, 5, 8, 9, 10-2, 12 and 13. Which one do I need to
play first? I'd prefer to play 5
and 13 near the end so I can
get the GBA version/an HDTV respectively.
If you want to save those for later on, I'd start out with IX. A nice throwback to earlier
games in the series, it was one of my favorites. It has a charming
story and characters, and a battle system that will instantly click
with longtime fans of the series. Save VIII and XIII for last. Not because they're
bad (I love both), but they both try a lot of new things with the
series, and thus will be better experienced after you've finished the
more traditional titles. Give VIII and
fair chances as well. Play them for what they are, not what you'd want
them to be. This worked for me with VIII,
which I originally hated, but suddenly became one of my favorites
when I took it from a different perspective. Hopefully you'll enjoy all
the games as well! As for II,
we'll talk about that in a minute.
As well, 2's differences from
the rest of the series have been well-rehashed in the Q&A space, so
I won't repeat them. And I know that from what I read about 2's battle system, I'd be asking
Kawazu to perform biologically impossible acts if I tried to play the
Famicom version. So of the various remakes - PS1, GBA or PSP/iOS -
which one will involve the least amount of hair-pulling on my part?
Well let's be fair about II,
the structure of the story and exploration is absolutely, 100% classic Final Fantasy. It's just in the
game systems that it deviates from the other games. As for which
version? Go with either the PSP or iOS version. They both have much
improved graphics over the other versions, while keeping the extra
features. Stick with the game all the way through, and I'm sure you'll
find it isn't as bad as people make it out to be.
Lastly, one of your hot topics is whether someone's mood or perspective
can affect how much they enjoy a game. I'm not usually one to let their
emotions decide what games they buy, aside from "how happy am I going
be when I eventually play this".
Sure, mood shouldn't really change whether or not you buy certain
games, the hot topic was more about mood effecting whether or not you
like a game, which we'll discuss below.
But I know in the case of Sands of
Destruction vs Strange Journey,
up between the two of them when Strange
Journey came out last year.
I was also pretty depressed because of some personal problems I was
having at the time, so buying a game centered around destroying the
world seemed like a good way for me to escape. And I enjoyed it even
when the plot took a turn that I'm not going to spoil in this space -
the only things that kept me from really loving the game was losing
progress due to a long time between hard saves and not being able to
skip super-move cut scenes.
I'd say I had a similar, but opposite experience with Final Fantasy VIII. In my high
school days, I had some tough periods, and VIII was just not wanted I wanted
to play at that time. I wanted classic Final Fantasy battles and stories,
which I always find very relaxing. This past year, when I finally
decided to give it another chance, I went in with an open mind, a guide
to help me with weapon upgrading, and I just had a completely different
experience with the game. In your case with Sands, perhaps it has issues and
isn't the best game ever or anything like that, but the fact that it
helped you get through a difficult time means there's something to it.
I don't think I would have sunk 45 hours into Sands if I wasn't going through
that period of anger and had as good a time - the issues that I
mentioned above really stuck out for me when I replayed the game over
Christmas. Still, I'm grateful for it helping me get through that rough
Maybe you would have, maybe you wouldn't, who knows. The important
thing is that it helped you through that time, and maybe it will do the
same for others. It certainly has me a bit interested to give it
another try to see if there isn't something to it. This is the very
reason it's important to find many different opinions about games
though. Maybe it's not the greatest game, but perhaps you'll find
someone with similar tastes, or similar current troubles in life who
found a game be just the thing they needed.
Great questions, and I look forward to hearing from you again sir!
Content? We Got Your Content
Mr. Four Wheels, we converse once more. Or wait, is it Mr. Two Wheels?
Only you know for sure!
I have to wonder, do you watch the Angry Video Game Nerd? This episode
shows a couple of Godzilla games that could be considered RPGs
if one was very generous. I'm not sure how to make Godzilla into an RPG
protagonist, though, since killing the military is something he does
with the greatest of ease and other monsters could only serve as bosses
- what would the regular enemies be? 'Tis a puzzlement.
I don't watch much of the Angry Video
Game Nerd, but yeah, it would require great generosity to call some of
those games RPGs. As far as how you make a game like that, you'd either
have to make it some kind of Disgaea
comedic evil, or just make a full-on RPG
where the player is the bad guy. I don't know how well that would work,
but it would at least be interesting.
The connection game's time has come again! Link The Bicycle Thief
to Super Mario RPG!
Seriously? Now you're dipping into foreign films? I will not fail this
Thief was directed by Vittorio De Sica -> Vittorio De Sica
directed A Brief Vacation ->
Vacation -> Was distributed in the US by Allied Artists
->Much of the Monolith/Allied Artists post-1947 library is now owned
by Warner Bros. Entertainment -> Warner Bros. distributed the Super Mario Bros. film in Spain
-> That movie was (kind of?) based on Super Mario Bros. by Nintendo ->
Nintendo published Super Mario RPG.
Wow, that was a tough one.
I'm curious, will you ever grace the site with a retroview of Panzer
Saga? I could do it, but since I already reviewed it a
ago, I don't feel the need.
I'd like to once I properly complete
the game, so I may write up one later this summer or so. Honestly
though, do the people need another 5/5 gushing review of this brilliant
game? Sega really needs to re-release or remake this game so more
people can see why this game is so amazing. It is literally the best
game that no one has played.
Alright, time for something of a rant. I started playing Fire
Emblem: Thracia 776, and it has inspired thoughts in me. Now I
shall share these wondrous notions with you, in the hope that they
prompt interest, or at the very least sniggering from those who are
amused at the bothers. A quick bit of groundwork: this was released on
the SNES in 1999, and its actual retail version commands very high
prices. Let's start with the good. For some reason, anytime an enemy
attacks your characters in this game, they get the amount of experience
they would from hitting the enemy back, regardless of whether they
actually do. That adds up - instead of the lousy 1 experience a
character gets for dodging an arrow in the other games, here it's 8 or
9 or 10 - sometimes 12 or 14 if the enemy is a high level. That's
Also handy is the ability to steal anything from enemies provided the
thief's constitution is high enough, not just healing items. The tomes
enemy mages use tend to be rather light, and thus Lifis (or Rifis, take
your pick), my best thief, is able to relieve them of armaments and
render them unable to do anything at all. Most physical weapons are too
heavy for him to appropriate yet, but there are a few useful ones he
can nab anyway.
Then there's the Capture mechanic. Under this system, if your character
has a higher constitution than the enemy, you have the option to
capture instead of attack. Capturing lowers that character's stats
during the attempt by about 50%, making it very dangerous (since your
attack power, hit percentage, speed, and defense all take a massive
hit), but the reward for successfully performing it is to grab that
enemy instead of killing it. Capturing an enemy lets you strip its
items before tossing the now-impotent foe off to its fate. Sounds
That does sound quite nifty...wait
hold on a second. 1999? A SNES game came out in 1999? That seems
strange, even for Nintendo who kept releasing NES games long after the
SNES was out. Anyway, that's getting off of the topic. That's a pretty
interesting feature, as are all the things you mentioned. This seems
like a pretty experimental Fire
Emblem title, and I'm not sure I like the sound of some of this.
The thief sounds fantastic, but experience for getting hit by an enemy?
I'm not really sold on that, though experience for dodging does sound
like a good addition.
Well, Capturing is vital if you want to restock your breakable
inventory (remember how Fire Emblem games have finite weapon
uses?). In this game, not only do weapons cost about four times what
they do in the other titles I've played, but thus far I have received
no money at all. How's this for a weird one: the healers will
intermittently fail to heal. Using the healing staves sometimes doesn't
work in Thracia 776, and I have no idea what's wrong. My healer
still gets experience for the attempt, and I'm not down a weapon use if
it didn't happen, but this is not exactly an ideal turn of events.
Another unpleasant facet is that Thracia 776 is the first game
in the series to have the Fog of War. You've seen that system, in which
most of the map is shrouded in darkness and only enemies near your
characters are visible? It's not like that here, because outside the
area your characters can see, the map is pitch-black. Not darkened,
completely black. This makes figuring out where enemies might be, where
villages are, what the terrain itself is, a whole lot more unpleasant
than later titles.
I like fog of war, but not the way it
appears to be in this game. Darkening places you've already been to so
you can't see enemies that are there is one thing, but completely
blacking out the map not in your direct line of sight? I mean, it's a
game involving controlling an army, presumably they'd have a map of the
area right? I don't know how I feel about healers having a chance to
miss. It just seems like a cheap way to increase difficulty. Would I be
wrong in saying that the developers took advantage of the fact that it
was a very late SNES release to experiment with some new things?
Then we come to the Fatigue system. I haven't arrived at it quite yet,
because I still don't have quite enough characters to make me pick and
choose before battle, but I gather it works by making every battle
participant get tired. Once somebody has been used too much, that
character has to be benched for a battle in order to recover. Sounds
like fun, right?
All this emphasizes that I've been playing Thracia 776
conservatively, even more so than in other games of the series. I'll
probably review it sometime, but the nastiness of mages who bedevil me
with long-range spells hasn't really hit yet. I gather I won't have
long to wait.
Now this is a change that I like, to
an extent. Makes you use all of your characters, and seems like it will
put a stronger emphasis on keeping everyone in your army at a good
level. This is often an issue I have with this kind of game. I stick
with one set of characters, and those that might be useful sit on the
bench, never reaching their potential. I'll be interested to read your
review, this really sounds like the oddball of the series.
More connection fun! Link Royal Wedding to Sigma Star Saga!
Wedding starred Fred Astaire -> Fred Astair was in the film Holiday Inn -> Holiday Inn was distributed by
Paramount -> Paramount is currently owned by Viacom -> Viacom
owns Nickelodeon -> Nickelodeon makes SpongeBob Squarepants ->Wayforward
made a SpongeBob game ->
Wayforward made Sigma Star Saga.
We haven't seen a remake of Shining Force 2 like the first
game's. Does that mean it's unlikely to ever happen in your eyes?
I'd say yes, it's very unlikely. Sega
seem content just to re-release the games in their original forms, so
unless they plan on doing a 3DS version, or a PSP remake or something
like that, I'd settle for just getting Shining Force 2 on the iPhone.
Seems strange that they don't have it on there.
Nobody else has brought the topic up in Q&A, probably because
Saturn ownership is so scanty among the readers. So I'll have to do it
- Treasure handling a reissue of Guardian Heroes for the
multitudes who have never played it? Sounds like a good thing, unless
there are people who can't handle awesomely animated brawlers with
multiple action planes, a groovy score, massive replay value, superb
controls, and enough facets that classifying the result as an RPG isn't
On that note, did you ever play Advance Guardian Heroes? It
clearly had something if I played through it over a dozen times (short
length being one of the reasons) but I remember the audio quality being
My love of Guardian Heroes need not be
elaborated on too much, so I'll just say that a re-release is amazing
news, and I look forward to seeing the reaction of those that play it
for the first time. I did play a bit of Advance Guardian Heroes, but
remember getting stuck early on and not being able to advance. It
wasn't an awful game, but it just seems the wrong platform for the
game. I'd like to see another sequel done on a system that can do the
series justice. Perhaps they could collaborate with Wayforward to get
some cool new pixel art, and also get to work with another company with
experience making brawlers.
Speaking of the Saturn, everybody expecting Shining Force III
to be remade in its entirety has clearly not studied just how much bad
blood exists between Sega and Camelot. I can relate a few memorable
instances (there are a LOT) from Scenario 2 & 3, however.
This is partly to entice you to go play them, since obviously that
mammoth cliffhanger that closed Scenario 1 didn't impel you to
immediately follow it with the rest of the story.
For instance, why was Medion wandering around Saraband for Synbios to
chat with, anyway? You'll learn right at the beginning of Scenario 2,
text can take place, some nasty Bulzome
monks react to Campbell's accusation that they're working with
gunpowder by trying to kill Medion. Looking for the culprits, Medion
and Campbell stumbled right into Synbios and Dantares. Later you'll get
to experience the other side of the railroad battle in which Synbios
had to protect the civilians by fighting mad general Varlant, and
taking on general Edmund's troops to prevent them from taking Synbios
in the flank. Notably in these instances, it is Medion who has reverted
to mute status, while Synbios has words to say instead of the "....."
of Scenario 1. Also, remember Bernard, so ungrateful to be
rescued by Synbios? He'll join Medion if he was freed in Scenario 1,
Well, it's not that I didn't want to
jump into the other parts after that cliffhanger, I simply did not have
the means to do so when I finished part 1. I have the ability now, and
plan do so properly over time. I've actually started a new playthrough
of part 1, but I've been distracted by class and other things. It
sounds like the three games connect to each other in an interesting
way, and it really is a shame that we never got the complete series. I
don't think many people really think a remake can happen, but it's nice
Early on, Medion will also meet general Produn, in a memorable fight on
a dockyard where a cannon will blow chunks of the floor away as you
approach. Eventually Medion's path takes him to the land of Elbesem,
which requires that an octopus be battled and slain while its tentacles
appear one by one as the tide recedes. In Elbesem he meets Bulzome
knights (it's weird seeing those masks on centaurs) and Bulzome pegasus
knights (same thing). The Innovator, Gracia, is in Elbesem, and happens
to be the target of Bulzome's attentions because he holds the power to
actually kill a Vandal. Julian, who had been tossed into a waterfall by
Galm, joins Medion for awhile but takes off to protect the Destonian
capital with Gracia after a ship-to-ship battle against general
Crewart's troops. Medion subsequently returns to Saraband to take back
his father, the Emperor, only for Garvin's troops to abduct everyone in
his force except for Syntesis the mage, leading to a nifty fight in the
dungeon where all the characters must first be let out of their cells
and then retrieve their weapons before they can actually do anything.
Medion then gets to tangle with Dessheren (since Synbios is having fun
with Fiale and Basanda), and I've skipped a whole lot plus that doesn't
even take us to the end of the game.
See how well I remember this? I didn't even talk about Hazuki (the only
unpromoted ninja you'll get, and she's good to have around), or the
battle to recruit Hedoba (who is under mind control and also happens to
be a mage, but she must be allowed to live if you want a great summoner
on your team). Speaking of Hedoba, check
image - a roommate happened to observe in sage words "you
can see the bottoms!" She can summon Zephyrus and Wendigo in addition
to using Freeze magic though, so she's good to have around. I think
I'll forgo talking any more on this subject for one letter. I could go
on for a very long while, but putting things into smaller chunks might
Sadly it has been so long that I can't
remember who some of these characters are. Which means I need to just
keep at Shining Force 3 and
finish all three parts. Make sure you keep bugging me about it!
Adapt either Schindler's List, All Quiet on the Western
Front, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Dr. Strangelove, or Singin'
Rain into an RPG. I'm very curious what you'll come up with.
Quiet on the Western Front: The RPG would be sort of a life
experience RPG, capturing the mind of the main character as he passes
away. The player would explore many of the moments of the character's
life as experienced in the book, only they would be free to
explore and change things, given that the events are all in the
character's head. The story would focus on the character looking for
meaning in his life, and question the whole point of the war and it's
effect on humanity. Not something a normal person would probably have
any interest in playing, but then I suppose not many even study the
first World War very much anymore, do they?
That might just be enough, or maybe more than enough, for this letter.
It was, and I thank you, as always,
for the brilliant questions!
Ah, man I'll never win that! Wheels I was wondering are there any giant
monster RPGs? Like Rodan, or Ultraman, or that turtle...?
I don't believe there are, though I'm not sure what turtle you're
talking about. It's a shame, an RPG where you go rampaging about as
giant monsters would be great. Maybe some of the games are almost RPGs,
as JuMeSyn suggests, but I doubt "almost" is what you're looking for.
That reminds me that I did rent and play some Ultraman game as a kid. It was
pretty terrible, it essentially played out like a fighting game, only
you couldn't even play as the monsters (if I remember correctly). I'm
not sure I really get the appeal for Ultraman,
but maybe that's just me. I think it's time that you fire up RPGMaker or something similar and
get to work on a giant monster RPG. It doesn't appear that anyone else
is going to do it sadly.
That's it for this week! Time for the next contest. The prize? Tales of the Abyss 3DS (or
something else cool if you don't want that for some reason). How to
enter? Well since the last contest went so well, pitch me a sequel, to
any game! You've got until August to enter. Anyone that sends in a
pitch will have a chance to win. Details on how the winner will be
chosen will come later in the summer (hint: I may be simulating matches
in a game in a tournament style). I look forward to seeing what you all
come up with!
'Til next week
April 20th: Wheels
April 28th: Wheels
May 4th: Wheels
May 12th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Beyond the Labyrinth
2. Disgaea 4
3. Ys Origin translation patch (glad I imported this)
4. El Shaddai
5. Tales of Graces F in English!
On my Playlist:
1. Prince of Persia 2008 soundtrack
2. Green Day
3. Men Without Hats
1. What game do you have a burning desire to see a
2. Did BioWare/EA rush Dragon Age II out too soon?
3. What character are you angry about not being in Dissidia 2?
4. Guardian Heroes is finally seeing a re-release, will more Saturn
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