|July 29th, 2010
07/25 - 5:33PM EST
Hello, and welcome to the first edition of
Ask Wheels, where I will endeavor to answer all of your questions, give
you my opinion when asked, and generally talk about the great works of
the maestro himself, Kawazu. Feel free to write in and say my taste in
games is awful. I can take it! I'll be updating weekly on Wednesdays,
with occasional bonus days. Anyway, enough of this, let us begin....
Fastball right down the middle
Four questions for you!
1. If Akitoshi Kawazu made a tactical RPG, what do you think it would
Well Hito that is an absolutely brilliant question. I mean the maestro
really needs to get working on another game, instead of whatever cell
phone nonsense he's been involved with. My answer would have to be the
obvious choice, that being a SaGa Tactics game, in the style of Final
Fantasy Tactics, only with classes and such more along the lines
original two SaGa games(which
some of you may still only know of as
Final Fantasy Legend 1&2).
even put in the
monster meat eating system, though preferably in a less random fashion.
They could take a look at the fusion system in many Shin Megami Tensei
games and do something along those lines. Of course with Kawazu
involved it couldn't be a by the numbers Final Fantasy Tactics clone,
so there'd have to be some other gameplay systems involved, perhaps
something as simple as breakable weapons to keep it inline with the
original games? The only problem with all this of course, is that it
likely would not be played by a whole lot of people, and based on the
fact that they didn't bring over a port of one of the few SaGa games
that is well liked of here (SaGa 2 DS)
unlikely we would
get this theoretical game, but hey, its fun to dream.
2. Let's talk about Gust games. They don't seem to
change much from one
entry to another, save Ar Tonelico
which seems to be getting better. Do
you think Gust will ever expand beyond their familiar art and gameplay
My gut tells me no at least in terms of gameplay, but hey the Ar
Tonelico series was somewhat of a departure from what they
I can't see them changing the Atelier
series very much, as I
think one of the reasons it continues to have success is because the
gameplay is so traditional. A move to the PS3 for the series certainly
seems to be improving the art style. From what I've seen of the PS3 Atelier
games they look quite nice, though again from what I've seen of
the gameplay it does look very traditional. I don't know if they'd gain
that much from changing to be honest, as they've carved a nice little
niche for themselves, but if they ever want to be more than they are.
think the way Atlus has expanded the Shin
Tensei series is a
good model by which to expand a series and a company repertoire. There
are a number of different gameplay types in there, but the series is
still closely tied using similar naming conventions and fusion systems
in the like. An Action-RPG Atelier
game with all the alchemy systems in
place would be pretty cool for example. I've rambled on though.
Basically no, as long as the Atelier
games continue to sell I don't
think Gust will start to get any more creative. Maybe with the Ar
Tonelico series finished they'll do something creative in its
but I doubt it.
3. This generation has seen a lot of RPGs left
unlocalized. Aside from 7th Dragon
and Soma Bringer, what else
have come over? Why do you think it didn't?
You're 3 for 3 so far in question quality, Hito. Another good one, but
sadly there are not a lot of good answers to this one. Some of the
potential reasons include the high price of the higher capacity DS
carts, which making it much harder to make a profit on a game when they
can only sell for around $34.99 tops. Many people may not know this,
but in Japan DS games can go for a lot more. The import version of 7th
Dragon I bought was right around $30, but that was the cheap
the game! Of course this doesn't fully answer it because some of the
games that haven't come over seem, at least from my point, like they'd
be shoe-ins to sell enough to make a good profit.
7th Dragon in particular has Phantasy
Star creator Rieko Kodama
attached to it, along with the creator of Etrian Odyssey Kazuya Niinou
as well (though fewer people will know him) so that right there seems
like a good start. Sega never seemed to have any intention to localize
it though, instead giving us games like Sands of Destruction and
Space (no offense intended for those who like those games, bitterness
is intended though). I've heard many of the potential 3rd parties who
may have ported it over thought it was too hard (which it is not from
experience with the game so far), and that reason seems silly in
general given the recent success of such difficult games as Demon's
and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange
Journey. Perhaps Sega wanted to overcharge for someone to
license it as well.
may be a unique case in this regard, or it could be an
average case, it's hard to tell. As far as some games such as SaGa 2 and
the DS Chocobo's Dungeon
game, I have a feeling the high capacity cart
issue is involved. This seems silly for the SaGa 2 case though, the Final Fantasy
Legend games were popular back in the day, and it'd be
easy enough to re-brand it using the old name. I'd be remiss not to
mention piracy, which probably doesn't help the already small sales of
niche titles. Certainly many games like 7th Dragon deserved a shot
overhear, and it's a real shame that we shall go without.
4. Persona 3
Portable is the best example of
taking something that
wasn't broken in the first place and somehow making it better. What
other games should be refined in this way?
Is it really "better" though? Persona 3 Portable is my
first stab at Persona 3, but
feel like I'd probably enjoy the fully animated cut scenes more, not
to mention the immersion of being able to actually walk around the
areas of the city. I think I heard it was missing some of the anime cut
scenes as well. Not that P3P
is anything close to a bad game of course,
and Atlus really should be commended for adapting it to the PSP
platform though. I don't know if it's better or not, but it is
a brilliant RPG any way you shake it.
As for what games should be refined? There are many potential games
that could go through a transition like this (Persona 4 Portable,
please!), but personally I'd love to see a game refined the opposite
way, that is take a brilliant portable RPG and adapt it to a console
experience. The obvious choice for me, while we're on the subject of
Shin Megami Tensei, would have to be Strange Journey. I think an HD
version, with the core gameplay in tact but with vastly more detail in
the dungeons and more animation in battle would be quite glorious.
In terms of a console to portable refinement, I'd love to see a
portable version of 3D Dot Game
Heroes, preferably with more editing
options (i.e. make your own monsters and weapons and such!) would be
quite good. I'd also love to have Final
XIII's battle system in
some kind of portable form!
That's all for today!
Brilliant questions Hito, keep 'em coming!
I know you are huge Red Sox fan but...
Oh boy, here we go....
Please tell me you are not excited for 38 Studios
first game. "Dream
Team" type games don't exactly have a long history of success, outside
of Chrono Trigger, and it
just seems like this whole thing will crash
and burn. Shilling, McFarlane, and RA Salvitore are great at what they
do, but they have no idea how to make games! I think I'll be skipping
the first Kingdom of Amalur
Yikes! Its way too early for this kind of talk don't you think? We
haven't even seen any gameplay yet!
For your larger point though, let's kind of slow things down here. I
know the obvious reaction is to compare this effort to some of the
"dream team" games, but really if you look at the team, only one of
them (the one you didn't mention) will likely be involved in actual
gamplay elements, that being Ken Rolston of Elder Scrolls fame. I doubt
Curt Shilling has too much involvement (as in none) in actual game
development. He still does things on ESPN and other baseball related
things, so he clearly isn't involved in the company 24/7.
As far as R.A. Salvitore goes, he should just be involved in the world
building and story and character aspects of the game. The brief trailer
for the game showed doesn't make the world seem like anything more than
your typical high fantasy type world, but that is what Salvitore does
best and I don't get the feeling they want to do something completely
original with the world, which is fine. Personally, I still enjoy me
some high fantasy, but I can understand if this makes others less
interesting. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself though, we really
haven't seen much of the setting yet! Overall point though is Salvitore
isn't there for gameplay.
McFarlane will of course be in charge of the visual style only, we
would assume anyway. I'm not a big fan of his, and I hope he's not
involved in any of the story or gameplay elements. The trailer looks
good enough, but I'm still in wait and see mode as far as my opinion on
the art style.
So yeah, really that's just a "dream team" of talent just to create the
story and style of this game series, and not even create the dam games
themselves. I don't know if you're a fan of the Elder Scrolls series,
but its hard to say that the two games he was involved with were bad.
There's a lot of quality there. I don't know if he can do a
"combination of God of War
and Oblivion" like they're
saying the game
is, but him being the lead designer is not something that really makes
So yes, let's wait and see! Also please write in again once we know
more about the game.
More puns are in your future
Some questions for you!
I just got Dragon
IX for the DS. I
played IV and V, but I haven't seen VI. What is VI like?
Well VI hasn't been released in the US at all yet, but from what I've
heard it's got a job system and storyline similar to that of Dragon
Quest VII. Which sounds good by me, as I found both the story
system in VII to be great. Let's just hope its better paced than VII!
In case you haven't played it, Dragon
VII is just way too long
and moves along at a snails pace, which is a shame, because much of the
other elements of the game are great. This of course, isn't really
answering your question. If you enjoyed the IV and V DS remakes I'll
bet you'll find the VI remake enjoyable as well, especially since
you'll already have dealt with a job system in IX. So give it a try!
I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Plus it's always fun to play the
first localized release of a classic game!
Do I need to play Ys 1-6 before I play 7?
What is the story like?
Oh boy, the Ys series. Falcom is an odd game
company, I will warn you of that. You do not need to play any of the
previous Ys games.
While there may be characters from previous
games, or occasional references to previous games, the story in Ys
games are generally self contained. Plus we've never seen an official
release of Ys 4 or 5, so that
would make playing through them somewhat
difficult. Also, there's actual two completely different Ys IV games,
and I've heard the worse of the two is actually the one which is cannon
story wise. If you'd like to get a feel for the setting of Ys, you can
always play Ys I&II on
the Wii's Virtual Console, or on the DS. I'm
not exactly an Ys expert, and
being a much more action based RPG
series, you wont be finding the most complicated or deep story in the
world. However that's just fine, as the Ys games have great action and
fantastic music and are well worth checking out.
If you really want to gain some perspective
on the series, I'd recommend playing Ys
I&II on the virtual
console and then giving Ys VI a go on either PSP or PS2 (just
that the PSP version has really bad load times). I&II has archaic
gameplay, as it involves pretty much walking into enemies to damage
them, but its got some great boss encounters, classic music, and is
worth checking out if for nothing else than to get some perspective on
the series origins. VI on the other hand has more modern Action-RPG
gameplay and will give you an idea of how VII will play. VII was also
developed from the ground up for the PSP, so it should not see any of
the issues which plagued VI on the PSP. (The Ys games actually often
released on the PC first). Falcom has an interesting history which I
encourage you to check out.
If I still haven't convinced you, then you
can always wait for the other Ys
games XSEED is bringing over and play
those first. They'll be bringing over a very nice looking version of Ys I&II
for the PSP, along with Ys: The Oath
in Felghana, which is
actually a complete re-imagining of Ys
III. Ys VII looks really good
though, so I really encourage you to just give it a go and then take a
look at the older games if you enjoy it. I'd really like to see it do
well, and hopefully see more Falcom games brought over in the future!
The Ys series is great
Action-RPG fun, and I don't think we have enough
series like it.
I hear you're a Halo
fan, how excited are you for Halo
Very, very excited! I've been following Bungie for a long time (I'm a
Mac user) so the last Bungie made Halo
game is both exciting and sad at
the same time. Its sounds like they're really putting their all into it
though and I think it will end up being played online well into the
life of the next Xbox. I don't know what lies in the future of
Bungie, but I'm glad that they'll end their involvement in the Halo
series with a bang. Anyway thanks for the letter and please write in
Blue Dragon: Awakened Poo?
After seeing the Blue
Awakened Shadow review on the
site, I don't exactly have any interest to go back and play the
original Blue Dragon games Am
I wrong in this?
Well it's important to note that all three Blue Dragon games have had
different developers involved. Mistwalker seems to farm out most of the
work. Not to mention all three games are completely different types of
RPGs. Certainly good reason to avoid Awakened Shadow though! I mean I
got some enjoyment out of it, but certainly all the issues you
mentioned are issue. The biggest probably I had though, is the game is
just way too talky, and a pretty bad localization doesn't really help
that fact at all. There's just way too much down time between the
which should just not happen in this kind of game. Now I have had a lot
of fun playing multi-player, but obviously playing single player is
required still, so that's not going to help you at all.
However you should take a look at the other Blue Dragon games as they
don't suffer from these same issues. The original game is more of a
traditional RPG with turn based battles, and although the story isn't
that great, the dungeons are nice and long, and you be playing long
stretches of gameplay between lengthy story segments. If this sounds
interesting to you, go for it. It's very cheap right now, and the
and class systems are a lot of fun. In addition, there are a number of
different difficulty settings, so you can tailor the difficulty right
around where you want it. Despite what you may have seen in some
reviews for the original Blue Dragon
game, it's no push-over on the
As for the other DS game, Blue
Dragon Plus, that one is a real time
strategy RPG along the lines of Final
really plays almost exactly like Revenant
Wings) and it's pretty good. I
haven't played too much of that one, but I have enjoyed what I've
played, more so than Revenant Wings.
vary of course,
but its translation is much better at least (It's bad when a
by Ignition is better than something, no?).
So yeah, don't completely ignore the other two games just because this
one isn't that great. I'd say at least give the original a try. I mean,
at the cheap prices I've seen it for you probably won't be
Unless you'd have to buy a 360 just to play it that is....
I've been trying to finish up Final
Fantasy XIII lately, but keep running
into tough bosses I can't tackle. This is what I get for sneaking my
way past too many encounters! So to take a break I've gone back
to...Demon's Souls. Yes I
know, that doesn't make any sense :)
Anyways, this year continues to be a great one for RPGs! I'll be
getting Arc Rise Fantasia on
release day (despite the obvious voice
actor issues) so hopefully that will be another good one. What RPGs are
you all waiting for this year? Write in and let me know! See you all
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Valkyria Chronicles 2
2. Etrian Odyssey 3
3. Birth By Sleep
4. Halo Reach
5. Halo Reach multiplayer
On my Playlist:
1. Green Day
2. Persona 3 soundtrack
3. Persona 4 Soundtrack
1. Persona 3 portable-as good as the original?
2. Kawazu-Man of Myth or Man of ULTRAMyth?
3. You all better be buying Valkyria Chronicles 2
4. It's safe to say now that we wont be getting 7th Dragon, what are
5. After the success of Dragon Quest IX, will Dragon Quest X be moved