|June 17th, 2011
06/10- 12:00PM EST
Hello all! It's been a busy few weeks for me, but at least I've
had Avadon to keep me
distracted. Look for a review of it soon. I've also been taking break
with the more action-based fare of Hunted
and Splinter Cell 3DS, which
is a nice port of Chaos Theory.
played co-op with fellow RPGamer fanboymaster, and let me tell you, our
failures were quite
hilarious. That's what we get for starting on Hardcore difficulty.
Anyway, on to your letters!
It's been an insanely long time since last I wrote to RPGamer...I seem
to recall back when Steve Zimmerman, Googleshng, and Andrew Long were
running it...then the long hiatus.
Well it can be tough to do a weekly column, or in the case of one
legendary Q&Aer, EVERY DAY. That's neither here nor there though.
Glad to have you writing in again. Let's see what is on your mind!
I hate to admit it, but I'm starting to get bored with RPGs and I need
a cure for that. Games that lead from one battle to the next are
starting to remind me of all the fighting games I've been playing
lately (BlazBlue, Guilty Gear, Mortal Kombat, etc etc)...so
basically anything with Final Fantasy's
levels" feels dull to me now...and that shouldn't
be at all. I suppose Dissidia
is partially to blame for this as well.
Ahh Mortal Kombat, such a
great revival of that franchise. I can see your point, when burnt out
on RPGs, especially RPG combat, there isn't much left in the games to
enjoy. Especially if you aren't particularly into the story of that
game. I can see how Dissidia might
not help in this regard, given that it is all combat with tons of
things to unlock, thus making you overplay the thing. There is hope for
you though, as I will try and guide you to the RPGs that will guide you
out of this funk.
Maybe it's that I miss having a new Zelda
game, or something akin to Zelda,
a game that's going to spark my interest, not
just as a story but as a legendary mythos of some kind. I don't
like games that decide you're the center of a mythos right off the bat,
but at the same time I like being able to charter through a story that
won't happen unless I'm there to witness it, and also I've gotten sick
of this futuristic cyber-punk imagery in RPGs lately.
Has there been that much cyber-punk in RPGs? I suppose so, in
general there aren't that many types of worlds that haven't been
overused by the RPG genre. The only thing that comes to mind would be
the spy genre, which doesn't have much in it outside of Alpha Protocol. Perhaps that's a
game that would interest you? Like I've said, RPGs don't delve into the
spy type of genre much, or modern type settings for that matter. It's
far from a perfect game, but it sounds like it's the kind of RPG you
need, something that breaks you out of what once was your comfort zone.
Think about it! Also there's always Darksiders
if you need a Zelda type game. I haven't played
much of it yet, but it is well liked by many around these parts.
I like a traditional dragon thrown my way, or a famous sword to wield
(that you can actually "see" in action and not just equip in menu).
Not just that but...lately it feels like RPGs are eating away at my
patience...so many side quests, so many unnecessary "things to do" to
get what I want. It's one thing to be too linear, but it's
another to be too sparse...I've seen both extremes in FF13 and Disgaea (I'm sick of that random
dungeon generator already). I just think there needs to be a
balance of things you can go do and things you NEED to do...while still
being fun to play.
Well I think that's a little unfair to Disgaea, or at least to Disgaea 3. Sure there's lots of
optional things to do, but it's quite easy to stick to the main battles
and enjoy the story. Those optional things can help if you get stuck
and need to do a bit of grinding, but there's always a new story battle
to do, keeping you advancing through the game. I absolutely agree with
your general point however. Too often a game will either make your
quest too rigid, or give you a huge open world with no direction, and
lots of pointless activities. There aren't too many RPGs that hit that
sweet spot of plenty of freedom, while at the same time always having
meaningful things to do. One open world game, with RPG type elements,
you may enjoy is Infamous.
Side quests all have an important effect on the game world (clearing
sections of enemies) and help give the game a great forward momentum,
while still giving the player a fantastic feel of freedom. With both
good and evil ways to play the game, there's plenty of replay value as
well. In addition, try Demon's Souls.
gives you the freedom to tackle dungeons in the order you'd like,
while at the same time always giving you plenty to do. Of course I'm
not sure you have a PS3, but if so, these two games are must plays.
Another thing I noticed lately is that current RPGs are more about
visual fanservice and appearance rather than actual structure....to me,
it doesn't matter how big the female protagonist's boobs are, or how
elaborately drawn the monsters are, or how muscular the hero is...if
the game doesn't play well...or present itself as interesting...I just
lose it right then and there.
Well, that's certainly the case for some games, but I don't
think it applies to the majority of them. Look at games like Nier, where the main character
looks specifically like they wanted to get away from fanservice issues.
Fair point of course, style over substance has become an issue for many
ON TOP OF ALL THIS...I seem to barely have the patience to even play
RPGs anymore...it's like, I wanna pick up a game make some progress,
and put it down again...without feeling like I gotta think about what's
equipped or where I am and what monsters could kill me in this
area. I dunno what it is...but it feels like I kinda wish RPGs
had more fighting game elements in them, where you just perform combos
or learn a string, or make something up (ala Saga Frontier 2).
Hard bosses with super high HP just don't do it for me anymore...I
don't even bother with guys like Baal or Yiazmat or Omega Weapon...it
just...doesn't feel worth it.
Well I recommend you give the Ys
series a try. They're very easy to jump
into games, deal primarily with the action, and for the most part have
much less dialogue than you'd expect from an RPG (in a good way). Top
that off with some amazing music, and it could be exactly what you're
looking for. Shorter, quicker RPGs that get right to the meat and
potatoes of gameplay. You'll primarily find them on PSP nowadays, but
there are PC games you can import as well. I can discuss Ys in-depth
another time if the games interest you.
So I'm asking...is there a cure to what ails me? Or am I lost to
the RPG genre for good?
To give you a better idea of my "symptoms", the games I'm looking
forward to are:
The Last Guardian
Metal Gear Solid:
"Maybe" a New Zone of the Enders
"Maybe" a New Valkyrie Profile
"Maybe" a New Guilty Gear
"Maybe" a New BlazBlue
A PSP to PS3 port of Dissidia
Versus XIII (even though I've NEVER played Kingdom Hearts or plan to)
Zelda: Skyward Sword
(if it has a traditional controller function)
Yeah that's it....I haven't found anything else down the track that
piques my interest lately...so please help.
What? You should absolutely play Skyward Sword regardless of the
control scheme. I mean, it's Zelda! Anyway, there is a cure for you,
and it is quite simple. It's time to break out of your comfort zone.
What do I mean? Look for weird RPGs, that either deal with settings you
normally don't care for, or have strange gameplay elements, etc. etc.
Variety is the spice of life, and it sounds like the lack of this has
lead you astray from the RPG world. Try oddball games like Resonance of Fate and the SaGa series. Try games with
strange stories like Nier.
Try the Ys series. The RPGs
you're looking for are out there, but perhaps just not where you're
looking. Best of luck, and write in again!
I have dozens of unplayed games going back to the early 90's. Can you
tell me whether the original Four
Swords on the GBA can be played one-player? Can Four Swords Adventures on the
Gamecube be played one-player? Will the DSiWare Four Swords be the GBA game? And
will there be a one-player option even if it is not in the original?
And I'm guessing free for DSi owners also means free for 3DS owners?
It looks like the minimum number of players for the original Four Swords is two players, which
is a shame. The Gamecube one you can play one-player, which is good,
given the hardware requirements for playing multiplayer. If you can
find the hardware of course, it is absolutely worth it, and I'd imagine
the same is true for the original Four
multiplayer even has some elements of competition to it, to keep things
interesting. As far as the new DSi version goes, this apparently will
be the original GBA game, hopefully converted to at least have online
multiplayer. No word on whether or not this version will be playable
single player, but you never know! Finally, yes it will be free for 3DS
owners, and free is a great word, isn't it?
Nocturne 2: Electric Boogaloo
I was thinking about a spiritual sequel to SMT: Nocture, where, similar to the
protagonist in that game, your character's powers were determined by
the implantation of parasites in your body. However, in this
case, it would use a system where a parasite's effects and the powers
it granted differed based on the part of the body in which it would be
implanted. The areas where the demonic parasites could be implanted
would be the brain, tongue, ear, right hand, left hand, right calf,
left calf, heart, and the lower back. Each area would grant a
unique set of abilities based on the elemental and demonic affinities
of the parasite and the exact part of body onto which it is
attached. The hands and legs of course, would determine the basic
physical capabilities of the character, whereas the brain and tongue
would determine the character's ability to use magic (what types and
the power of the magic involved), whereas the ears would effect the
character's ability to avoid enemy attacks and predict enemy movements
and the lower back and heart would determine his body's durability,
resistances, and regenerative capacity.
I'm interested already, Nocturne really could use a
sequel. As far as the tongue goes, you could also have that effect how
well the player can negotiate with demons.
The setting would be a few decades in the future, when worries about
the inevitability of humanity starving to death in its overpopulated
cities has led the governments of the world to turn to demonic
summoning and black sorcery in combination with genetic experimentation
in an attempt to make the human body more capable of surviving harsh
conditions. The protagonist is one of the few amongst the several
thousand test subjects to have retained his sanity after being
implanted with the demon-infested parasites, and his body, like that of
all the others, has been altered greatly by the implantation. To
make things worse, as a side-effect of the presence of so much demonic
energy being given off by the implanted subjects, it has become easier
for demons to emerge into the world and the protagonist has been put to
work as a hunter of said demons (more as a convenient method of showing
the usefulness of the failed experiment so that the researchers
involved won't be put in front of a firing squad as well as being fired
than out of any sort of feeling that he might be useful), for the sake
of his nation and at the hope of getting the bomb planted in the base
of his skull removed at some point in the future. In addition,
most of the other subjects escaped during a demon attack, and as you go
around hunting demons, you occasionally come upon them, kill them as
ordered and claim their parasites for your own use to alter or improve
your abilities, with the constant knowledge that eventually you'll
share the fate of those you've killed, once the government decides
you've disposed of all the others like you.
Very interesting story idea, that so
far sounds like it could fit well within the overall SMT series. This also seems to make
it possible for more character interaction than the first game. Many
different ways you could go with this.
There would be an overworld map that covers the entirety of the world
and its current nations and part of your protagonist's job is finding a
way to get to his destinations, as the government is too cheap to pay
for shipping. As such, the protagonist ends up taking on various
paying jobs suitable for his skills (anything from rapid pizza delivery
to murdering the lady next door and her dog) in order to pay his way in
order to complete his real job so that they won't press the shiny red
button that will blow his head to bits of broken skull and scattered
Along the way, the protagonist will make various connections, depending
on his actions - such as faking the death of one of his target demons
in exchange for it becoming a connection that might be useful in the
future or gaining political allies by performing dirty work directly
for a corrupt Senator or two - and as a result, his mobility, allies,
and even his own way of thinking will change.
Now this is very interesting,
generally SMT games cover a
pretty small area of the world, so to have the freedom to explore an
entire world could be quite exciting. Throw in even more character
interactions and it already sounds like we have a hit on our hands. I
love the idea of political allies, so many different ways that could be
Rather than determining the end from the beginning, I figure it would
be better to have the path to the various endings split radically
depending on the way you play the game, various paths opening and
closing based on your actions, your choice of words, who you have
contact with, and various other factors.
Of course, multiple endings is a must.
Overall I think this idea is brilliant. Well done sir!
Who decides when a game is put on RPGamer and how.
Well for the most party, many games are very clearly RPGs, or at least
advertised as such, making the decision to cover them quite easy and
automatic. We can't always cover every game, given that we're a
volunteer staff, but we do the best that we can. The only time any real
decision have to be made, is with games that are borderline RPGs, or
those which don't fit the traditional definition of an RPG. So there
will often be staff discussions about these types of games, and we do
our best to pick the right games to cover. I don't think it's that
often an occurrence, generally games are very clearly RPGs. As games
continue to evolve and blend I'm sure this will come up more often, but
for now I don't think it's too tough. As for covering indie games,
which I think your question may have also been referring too, we are
trying to cover more of them. There's too many for us to cover all of
them of course.
That's it for this week! Keep the crazy sequel ideas for the contest
coming in. Next week my fellow SaGa
fan writes in, along with The King of Content, so be sure to stop in
See you all next week!
May 19th: Wheels
May 26th: Wheels
June 5th: Rosestorm
June 10th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Beyond the Labyrinth
2. Disgaea 4
3. Ocarina of time 3D
4. El Shaddai
5. Tales of Graces F in English!
On my Playlist:
1. Lots of 80s Music
2. Green Day
3. Men Without Hats
1. What game do you have a burning desire to see a
2. Which system will replace the PSP as the go-to JRPG platform?
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