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ASK WHEELS
Pokémon's Ambition
June 22nd, 2012

06/22- 12:00PM EST

As I'm sure you can tell by the title, I've been playing a bit of Pokémon Conquest, which is quite addicting. It is the perfect mix of everything that is great about the main series, with just enough of Koei's complex strategy series to keep things interesting. I'm actually hoping that they turn this into a full spin-off series. Anyway, I've also been playing Growlanser II some more and a bit of Gungnir, so plenty of strategic RPG action.

Anyway, letter time!





The Letters
My Poor Wallet

Hey Wheels (or whoever's running the show):
 
Is it just me or is the gaming industry killing my wallet?


Wheels

You aren't kidding there! Beside the topic which you're about to bring up, we've got DLC to buy, tons of quality releases, and downloadable games in addition to physical releases. At least it's easier to find games with online shopping.

It's bad enough I'm having a hard time finding work in my own home state, but when my PS3 overheats and probably can't be fixed unless it's replaced...I just feel rather down about it.


Wheels

Well, are you sure it can't be fixed? I understand what a downer this is, my  Xbox 360 was scratching game CDs and Microsoft charged me $100 to get it fixed (i.e. they sent me a new 360). At least they replaced the copy of Lost Oydssey it had destroyed. Anyway, give Sony's customer service a call if you haven't already. I did this when I dropped my PSP Go on a hardwood floor, and they fixed (replaced) it for $65. If you have already called them, then I hope you find a solution!

Don't get me wrong, there's lots of great games I want to get...but I still haven't finished playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 yet.


Wheels

Well remember, there's no rush. Unless it's something like an Atlus game with a low print run, it shouldn't be hard to find whatever game you want to play later on. I understand the allure of new games (I usually can't resist) of course.

This sorta thing, consoles overheating and frying...when did it get so commonplace?
 
If it's going to be a gamble to buy a console that's not gonna overheat, they might as well make them cheaper for all that.
 
Last I checked my PSP and PS2 were still up and running after a good 5-10 years after I bought them, going through a ton of games (still am, though it's kinda sad I'm reduced to that).
 
Yet my PS3 dies in less than 3 years and I gotta pay a fortune to replace it? How is that fair?



Wheels

Well, there's a lot of different things at work here. For starters, modern processors are giving off a lot more heat than the ones back in the SNES days were. In addition, there's heat from disc drives and hard drives. Combine this with the desire for consoles to be small and sleek, and overheating becomes a real threat.  As we move towards solid state media, these problems should work themselves out. The consoles without these kinds of repair issues don't have as many complex components. Also the original Xbox 360 was rushed out. I think the newer ones are more solid.

My Sega Genesis NEVER had those problems...SNES never did either (unless an idiot poured soda all over it or something).


Wheels

This is true! There's times when I wish CD media hadn't become super cheap and we had stuck with cartridges. At the very least it seems portable games will stick to this route, with the Vita switching away from disc based media.

Is Nintendo still building their consoles like trucks? Because I sure don't know what Sony's thinking.


Wheels

For the most part, though some people have had issues with the Wii and some hinge issues with the 3DS. On the whole, I believe they still have a better track record. However, let us not forget the disaster that was the original NES. Blowing in cartridges was not fun!

My life as a gamer isn't real good right now, without access to a good console I can't play the games I want. Unless they plan on hiring me to design a more reliable system, I don't see a solution.
 
So yeah, I'm lacking in $$$ and games...not happy.


Wheels

I'm sorry to hear that. I'm hoping you'll get that PS3 situation taken care of. In the mean time, you could always get a DS for not much (if you don't already have one) or play some classic games on the cheap. Perhaps some kind Q&A host will even give you a Steam code for Shining Force 2 or something (let me know if you haven't played it).

Any advice on who to yell at? Or who to get a job from (if you're a diehard gamer that is)?
 
--Mimeblade


Wheels

I would yell at Sony honestly. Other things aside, they should be able to make a system with ample cooling so it never overheats too much, even if the consumer has it in a confined space. Fans are cheap! Here's hoping the next generation of consoles don't suffer from these issues.

Perhaps it's time to get a job at a Sony store to get a discount on PS3s?

25 Years of Ys

Wheels,

This is a followup to some questions you asked during your Q & A for rpgamer.com.  I do have Ys for psp somewhere and I aslo have Ys 1 &2 downloaded for the wii. I wish they would have brought the TGx16 version to the wii virtual console. I enjoyed Ys 3 on both snes, and genesis, not the best at the time as Ys 3 for the turbo cd far and away was the winner IMO. I do love the remake of Oath in Felghana, awsome.


Wheels

Well, there's good news! The version on the Wii virtual console is the Turbo Grafx-16 version! One of the best versions available, with high quality music and classic 8-bit graphics (the Turbo Grafx-16 wasn't really 16-bit). I've never really cared for any version of Ys 3, but the Turbo Grafx-16 version at least had the best version of the soundtrack. I absolutely adore the remake, it may be my favorite game in the series.

I'm working on getting Ys book 1 & 2 for the turbo cd (even though I do not have one ATM)


Wheels

Not a bad idea! You can actually pop the CD into your computer and run it directly from an emulator on your computer, but playing it on the actual system with a controller is of course the best. Also, if I remember correctly you can just play the game disc like a musical CD to listen to the game's soundtrack.

and yes I like the anime it follows the game(s) pretty close also the intro/menu screen is an interactive game screen from the fist game it's pretty neat.

Take care,
Gameremporium


Wheels

Excellent, I may have to get that to celebrate the series 25th anniversary. I remember seeing it on Amazon for a decent price. Here's to 25 awesome years Ys!

Grand Arch-Admiral of Content (Part 1)

Mr. Stone Wheels, let's have some more Q&A stuff!
You thought the connection challenges were done?  I found some good ones, mwa ha ha ha!  Such as: A Gentleman at Heart (1942) with Burning Heroes on the Super Famicom.


Wheels

Dang it, I thought I was done with these, and you brought them back! It's like the Pokémon games. Every time I think I can not care about them anymore, they come up with something new! Anyway, I'm going to "pass the buck" as they say. The first reader to successfully complete the challenge will get Penny Arcade Adventures 3 on Steam after its release.

Having played some of it, I can see why Dark Cloud repelled you.  This game pushes a lot of buttons with me and I despise it greatly.  I might - MIGHT - get behind the idea of making the weapons stronger, but when they break with the greatest of ease it's sure not fun.  Especially when you lose all the progress you've made with a weapon the instant it breaks, no way of getting it back.  Jerk move Level 5, jerk move. 


Wheels

To think that people complained about weapons degrading in the early SaGa games! See, that kind of idea worked in a turn based game where you weren't upgrading weapons. In an action game on the other hand? It just doesn't work that well. I had bigger issues, which we will dive into shortly.

But there's so much more to become angered by!  Randomly generated dungeons have never impressed me except in a negative way, and this game sure isn't changing that.  The camera would be okay if I only fought one enemy at a time - fat chance of that!  Instead I can't see things close by except by using the automap, hardly the most reliable means of determining whether I have to run away quickly.  Using items takes longer than I want in the menu.  The visuals remind me of the Dreamcast, which makes sense given that this was a very early PS2 game but also means nothing is all that appealing to the eye.  What little story I've seen is uninteresting, the music was great for the introduction but then got super repetitive in the dungeon, the thirst mechanic is just irritating and obnoxious, while the village-rebuilding part is needlessly complicated - why the hell do I have to put LAMPS back into houses?  Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah!  Soul Blazer this isn't. I guess what I'm saying is, the game doesn't work for me.  At all.


Wheels

Randomly generated dungeons can be very interesting when done right, but that is not the case in Dark Cloud. I think the game would have been far better with dungeons with creative layouts. The randomness just makes them boring. This game is far from the visual splendor Level-5 would be known for as well. I really hated the Soul Blazer type village-rebuilding. It was tedious and pointless and nothing like the game it clearly drew inspiration from. I know it has a lot of fans, but I just could not get into it. I may have to give it a second try, but I doubt I will find it to my liking, despite being quite some time since I last played it.

You've been playing some Rogue-like stuff lately.  No matter what you say, the only way I will play another Rogue-like is if monetary compensation is involved.  Everything I've touched in that genre feels an awful lot like work to me, and triggers instant rage within me.  The central tenets of the games just anger me irrationally, and I don't find them enjoyable in the slightest.  Sorry.  This means I have nothing to offer regarding any Shiren game, because I would run away from them.


Wheels

Well Rogue-likes are an interesting breed. I think the biggest hangup people get is from trying to play them like typical RPGs. Granted, since many present themselves this way I can understand this, but they're better played by considering them similar to challenging platformers.

Stick Ingrid Bergman into an RPG, why don't you?  Should be interesting!


Wheels

Why, that's actually quite easy. Ingrid Bergman starred in a Joan of Arc film, so, for a console version of Jeanne D'arc they could use here likeness for the lead character! I think that qualifies as a slam dunk my good sir.

I understand a lot of people (like Glenn Wilson, when I spoke to him about it awhile back) strongly dislike Ys III based on its SNES incarnation.  Well, I rather liked the Genesis version, so if you want to play the original game that's probably the best way given that the TG-16 apparently isn't that great either.  It's been awhile so I don't remember a whole lot, except that the final boss was pretty nasty until I went with straight-up offense using the attack doubling ring and chopped him to bits right before he would've killed me for about the fifth time.  I had fun with that version at any rate.


Wheels

While I certainly abhor the awful SNES port of Ys III, I'm really not very fond of the other versions either. The Genesis version is certainly the best of the bunch, but on the whole I just find the gameplay to be tedious and not very entertaining. Of course, I'm biased as I mostly played it after playing the brilliant remake, Oath in Felghana. I highly recommend this over any of the various iterations of Ys III.

You were going to play the TG-CD version of Ys IV, weren't you?  How'd that go?  The SNES version was solid but nothing spectacular - assuming you didn't remember from when I said that on other occasions.


Wheels

I did import the disc and have played it a bit, using the wonderful patch that translates the game on the fly (using an emulator obviously) so you don't even have to do any fancy patching. I haven't played much of it, but so far it is a nice return to form to Ys I&II's combat style. I've heard it's the better of the two versions, and makes interesting references to the first two games. Apparently it is not the official version of the story, so I guess the coming Vita remake of IV will follow the SNES version. That's a shame given its reputation as the inferior of the two.

Oh, you need further Valkyrie Profile incentive.  Well, I can tell you this right now - make SURE you visit Lezard's tower during the fourth cycle.  Otherwise the chain of events that leads into the good ending will not begin.  The bad ending does offer a dungeon you've never seen before, but since you can take on that ending using the same save file that a good ending can be achieved during, there's no reason to omit Lezard's tower.  It's a nasty place when you begin, though.  Some of the enemies are pretty mean.

TO BE CONTINUED....


Wheels

I shall keep that in mind! I've been trying to dig into this, but there's just too many games to play at once. I'll try and play it a bit over this upcoming weekend!

Feedback

So when you first started the column, I was happy about it.  It seemed fresh, it seemed intuitive, and most importantly, weekly.  Sadly it is now more of a readers editorial column where the love of Kawazu has become stagnant and redundant as well as boring.  No one asks any relevant questions anymore such as, where did Matsuno go?  What the heck is going on with Versus XIII?  When does the PSP Fabula Nova come out?  Are we ever going to see classic HD remakes of Final Fantasy?  It just seems to have become a bunch of nostalgia and readers giving their take and their history of MegaTen and SaGa games and lamentations of their favorite games.  What’s up…?  I’m sorry Wheels, but it now seems like I’m patiently awaiting another curator to bring this column back to “Questions and Answers” not whatever it is you would call it now…
 
Sincerely, long time reader, occasional asker,
 
Ian Bathelt
WarmCoat


Wheels

Well, I certainly take full responsibility for this. It's my job to get readers to send in interesting questions, and I certainly aired way too much on the side of begging people to write in about my favorite franchises. I shall endevour to try and entice some more interesting questions, and I have refreshed the hot topics to try and do so. In addition, I will answer your suggested questions, and we shall see if that gets others to write in about these topics!

Where did Matsuno go?
After the Tactics Ogre remake, he joined Level-5 and worked on the collaborative project Guild-01, which did not sell well at all in Japan. So gamers looking for his future work should keep an eye on future Level-5 releases to see if he is involved.

When does the PSP Fabula Nova come out?
Are you talking about Final Fantasy Type-0? That's already been out in Japan for some time, and sadly doesn't appear to be headed to the west. I'm not sure why, given Square Enix's success with their big name portable titles here. To me it suggests that some kind of Vita or PS3 port is underway. It has been quite some time since we missed a major Final Fantasy title so I still think we'll see it in some form.

Are we ever going to see classic HD remakes of Final Fantasy?
Probably? Perhaps not on a console, but I could see a lower cost HD remake on the Vita. I could even see them doing a 2D HD remake of a Final Fantasy. Rayman Origins is proof positive that 2D is far from dead.

What the heck is going on with Versus XIII?
Who knows? At this point Square Enix should think about bringing in other internal development teams to try and finish it up. It needs a new name as well. I doubt anyone really cares about the vague relationship to Final Fantasy XIII. I think we'll see something of this at the next big Japanese game conference, with a release in 2013.

Thanks for the letter, I really do appreciate the feedback! I shall not ask for any SaGa questions for awhile.

IN CLOSING

Send me in some questions or feedback and perhaps you'll win a free Steam code for Penny Arcade Adventures 3!

See you next week!

-Wheels


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What I can't wait for:

1. Growlanser IV

2. Kingdom Hearts 3D

3. Ys IV Vita

4. Persona 4 Vita

5. Persona 4 Arena

On my Playlist:

1. Romancing SaGa soundtrack

2. Ys Origins soundtrack

3. Homestuck albums



Hot Topics:

1. Why hasn't Final Fantasy Type-0 come out in the US?

2. Will Elder Scrolls Online do anything new with the MMO genre?

3. Has the EA purchase of BioWare hurt their output?

4. Does Nintendo of America hate RPGs or are gamers making too much of the Xenoblade/Last Story situation?con

5. Is Final Fantasy Versus XIII going to reach Duke Nukem levels of delays?

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