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ASK WHEELS
There is No Cow Level
August 3rd, 2012

08/03- 12:00PM EST

Well, you may find this shocking, but there's no real Suikoden talk this week! I know, it's unbelievable, but instead this week you've all provided me with various lists to analyze. This should be fun.

On to the letters!





The Letters
Final Villainy

Hey Wheels, long time no write!

Sorry I've been bad about writing in, but it seems you haven't been lacking for content lately.  I guess I'll have to try these Suikoden games sometime.  I think I saw the first one at the local games store for about $10, so maybe later this year....


Wheels

Yes you really should get on that. Since you can read Japanese you can likely get the second game for far cheaper than any of use could! Get on that, and if you play them be sure to write into Q&A!

I've been meaning to write in about a side-tracked conversation from the forums.  On the "Final Fantasy VII Does PC... Again" thread, the topic got derailed and turned into a discussion of whether or not Jecht from Final Fantasy X was a villain.  It all went on longer than it should have, so I thought it would be better to move the discussion over to Q&A.  My answer was that Jecht may not have been the villain, but he was certainly the major antagonist to Tidus's protagonist.  Everything that Tidus did or was could be attributed to his relationship with his father.  Whether he was trying to emulate his father, distance himself from his father, or be a better hero than his father, it all did come back to Jecht in the end.  I guess that's one reason why I have trouble even remembering the names of the actual villains in FFX. They were there, but their characters weren't nearly as essential to the story.  You could replace them with any number of psychopaths or megalomaniacs and not see much of a difference in the grand scheme.  But if you removed or replaced Jecht, then you would have to change the core conflict in the heart of the game's main character.


Wheels

I agree 100%, and this is one of the many reasons that I loved Final Fantasy X. There was a villain, but he wasn't essential to the story. The game instead focuses on the whole Jecht story obviously, but also spends a lot of time developing the world and the devastation that Sin causes. It was a different kind of story telling for the series, and it worked out for the better. So yes, Jecht, great antagonist, not a villain.

When it comes to storytelling, I think Square Enix has forgotten something.  Villains are dime-a-dozen, but good antagonists are gold.  Any whackjob with a sword and outstanding emotional issues can be a psychopathic villain, but those sorts of characters rarely make for good stories just because they are ultimately interchangeable.  It's much rarer to see a well developed antagonist (who may be a rival, a villain, or even a grudging ally) in any sort of RPG these days.Let's look at the Final Fantasy series.


Wheels

Excellent! This should be fun. As far as great Antagonists go in the Final Fantasy series, let's not forget about Final Fantasy Tactics, where the main character's old friend is often working against the player's goals, but certainly isn't what you would call a villain.

XIII suffered from having a vague mastermind villain running in the background for most of the game who was difficult to connect with and had no personal associations with any of the cast.   The first thirty or so hours of the game were spent running from place to place with anonymous goons giving chase, but there was rarely a face to attach to the feelings of menace and urgency that the game tried to create. Cid and Jihl were the best antagonists at hand, and even they were largely out of the picture for most of the game.


Wheels

I love XIII but agree with you completely. The upside of this of course is the game instead spent that unused villain time heavily developing the cast and their struggles. The game really could have used a good antagonist, especially given that the main villain's motivations are poorly developed.

IX on the other hand had two antagonists, Kuja and Queen Alexandria, who were also the principal villains for different parts of the game.  They each had strong ties to the two principle characters, Zidane and Dagger, and each had a strong presence in the plot with the main characters often acting or reacting against them. This game even had a counter-antagonist in the form of Garland, who could have been used as a hidden mastermind like Zemus in IV, but instead became a source of plot progression and resolution, adding a lot to Kuja's character in the process.


Wheels

One of the countless reasons that IX is so good. Granted the game's plot has some issues, such as the completely random last boss. Still, this remains one of my all time favorites in the series.

VII, VII... I'm probably kicking the hornet's nest here, but I don't consider Sephiroth to be that great of a villain or antagonist.  As I said before, the lone psychopath schtick can look cool, but it really doesn't contribute much to the story.  For the entire first half of the game, the real antagonists are the folk at Shinra, and literally the entire world of VII has been shaped by the actions of that corporate empire.  Sephiroth mostly killed random people, dropped bosses in front of the heroes at odd times, and served as a macguffin to chase rather than as a real character. The "stoic psychopath" path that he followed made it difficult to connect with him, even negatively.  His saving grace was the infamous death scene, which did more to define my feelings towards him than any other event in the game. In the final analysis though, which would have changed the game more if removed or replaced, Sephiroth or Shinra?  Since I could honestly see Rufus replacing Sephiroth as a principal villain in that game, I know which answer I'd give.


Wheels

I can't really argue with any of your points. Shinra should have stayed the main focus of the story in my opinion. Sure, they took the easy "evil corporation destroying the environment" route to make them an effective antagonist group, but it worked. Sephiroth being the spawn of some weird alien creature that spawned bosses when he threw her body parts at you never really worked for me. The part where Shinra becomes less of the focus is the part where I started to care less for VII's plot.

VI, though, there's a good example of antagonist and villain meeting properly.  Kefka isn't just a crazed killer, he's the face of the Empire, the frontman for the invading forces, and the guy who was personally behind the more hate-inducing moments in the game.  He pops up multiple times in the game's first act, while the player is still getting introduced to the main cast, and he's the reason why many of the characters join the party in the first place.  And then, after he has literally shaken the world to its core, he sits in a throne of rubble in a fortress of destruction just enjoying the results of his actions.  He may not have had the best character development (we never do find out his motivations for half the things he does over the course of the game), but he still comes out as an iconic villain, possibly the best one in the series.


Wheels

That's the thing though, just like the Joker in the Batman comics, Kefka never needs any sort of real background or character development. They're both crazyed psychos who just enjoy seeing the world burn. The difference of course, is that the Joker never has any real power beyond his crazy brilliance, whereas Kefka deftly steals the power of the statues and becomes a world destroying monster. One of the best moments in the game involving him is when you meet him for the final battle, and he randomly fires off beams destroying parts of the world just for giggles. If anyone ever wants a model to base a truly evil villain on, this is it right here.

Sometimes I think S-E's current team of writers should go back and play IV, VI, and IX, and take notes at the same time.  They may be cliché, they may not be the best plots on the planet, but they were handled well and had villains/antagonists that made you want to hate them.

Your thoughts?
--Gaijin


Wheels

I think they should go and look at Final Fantasy Tactics as well (since they can no longer just call on Matsuno to do writing). There's also some examples to be taken from their other great franchise, Dragon Quest. It has been way too long since we've had a good antagonist in a Final Fantasy title.

P.S. You still owe me a letter.


Wheels

I know! I've been insanely busy of late, but I haven't forgotten it. I've got a good villain idea in mind and just need to find the time to sit down and type it up. I'll get it to you soon, I promise!

Final Adventure Fantasy

Hello Wheels.

I've stayed out of the letter fray for the most part, but a recent one ruffled my feathers and forced me to pop out of the woodwork, if only for a moment.

That is, I take great exception to the characterization of Sieken Densetsu (known in the States as "Final Fantasy Adventure") as a "lemon". This was a game that came out on the original Game Boy at a time when the most complex stories the system had were "save the princess". This was THE game that established the Mana series. It had a vast, expansive map. It had a complex, plot-twisting story. It managed to superbly mingle RPG style mechanics with action-style adventuring. And it had Moogles!

It's offensive to think that someone who considers themselves to be a true RPG player would put such a game down like that.

-Daniel


Wheels

I didn't even really know what to say in response to that when I read it last week. Final Fantasy Adventure is an absolute classic, and I played the heck out of that game back in the Game Boy days. It's a shame the remake was so mediocre. Anyway, it was an amazing game and I can assure you it will never go in any of my bad lists. Don't forget it had a Chocobo as well! Also, you may not realize this, but the actual Japanese title was  Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden, which means all the little references to Final Fantasy in the game were intentional. You would be surprised how many people don't know this! Anyway, do not worry, at the very least your Q&A host is a huge fan of Final Fantasy Adventure. Just please don't force me to play the remake!

Agarest: Generations of Arguing


Thank You for responding to my letter. You are one classy writer.

I liked Agarest, to each his own I guess.


Wheels

No problem! Thanks, as always, for writing in, and for the complement!

That's absolutely fine, you're more than welcome to like the games. Having little experience with the series I just thought it best to turn to someone who had played them much more extensively. I can tell you that I bought and quickly sold Agarest 2. Not because it was necessarily awful, I just didn't like the battle system. It reminded me too much of Cross Edge.

"Not sure where in the world you found this story, but there is zero truth to any of this..."

It comes from square, a square insider on neogaf, and other writers


Wheels

I'm sure it came from someone calling themselves an insider, but like I said last week, it is simply not a true story.

I declare Dragon Quest my favorite Square series ( including Final Fantasy). I thought it would only be fitting I flesh out my reasoning with game choices.


Wheels

Excellent! I shall prepare by queuing up the series theme song as I get ready to respond to these. You know I'm a fan of the series!

10) Dragon Quest: Shōnen Yangus to Fushigi no Dungeon (PS2) - The last of the Dragon quest mystery dungeon series released (Jp only) so a lot of people probably haven't heard about this one. The game contains randomly generated dungeons and uses turn-based action combat. Although its part of the mystery dungeon side DQ series, its also a spin-off of Dragon Quest VIII. The main characters are yangus, red, and Morrie ( the guy who looks like mr satarn)


Wheels

I really want to play this game. I'm still sad that it never made it over to the US. I know it wouldn't have sold much if anything, but a man can dream, right? I enjoy the mystery dungeon games, and the idea of one tied into Dragon Quest VIII got me really excited. Oh well, I guess I'll have to hope some fans translate it?

9) Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS) - The first of the Rocket slime sub series of action rpgs on the DS, but a sequel to the GBA game ( a sequel to the ds game exists on the 3ds). This one improves on the first in every single way. The main character is, you guessed it, a slime. I like this more than the others because I played this one first. The tank battles are deceptively fun.


Wheels

You know that myself, and many here at RPGamer absolutely adore this title. It is a blast to play and the story is filled with some hilarious writing. It's a shame we never got the first one. It will be an even bigger shame if we never get its sequel. Everyone should play this game! It doesn't have that much replay value, but that one playthrough is amazing.

8) Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 Professional (DS) - Up to this point, this game is my favorite in the DQ monsters sub series which takes pokemon, digimon, monster rancher and rolls it up into 1 deep game. The game has 311 monsters, that can all be found in game ( for reference most pokemon games have around 200). The game is basically the game of the year version of joker 2, with not only new monsters, new areas, and some new functionality.


Wheels

I didn't much care for the first Joker, so I was pleasantly surprised when the sequel was far better in just about every regard. It even had a somewhat interesting story, which you don't usually expect from this kind of game. Plus you can get the tank from Rocket Slime!

7) Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Special (PS2) - My Favorite in the Dragon Quest board game side series because for the first time it was like this EPIC cross over between Dragon quest and final fantasy. The game plays something like monopoly. The game also had a great character list.

Characters from the Dragon Quest series include:

Slime

Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry, Watabou

Dragon Quest I: Hero, The Dragonlord

Dragon Quest II Hero, Prince of Cannock, Princess of Moonbrooke

Dragon Quest III: Kandar, female jester

Dragon Quest IV: Torneko (Torneko Taloon), Ryan (Ragnar McRyan), Crift (Kiryl/Cristo), and Arena (Tsarevna Alena)

Dragon Quest V Hero, Flora, and Bianca

Dragon Quest VI Hero

Dragon Quest VII Hero

Dragon Quest VIII: Jessica, Yangus, and Kukule (Angelo)

Imp (Minidemon)

King Slime

Characters from the Final Fantasy series include:

Final Fantasy VII: Cloud Strife, Aerith Gainsborough, Tifa Lockhart, and Sephiroth

Final Fantasy VIII: Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly

Final Fantasy IX: Vivi Ornitier and Eiko Carol

Final Fantasy X: Tidus, Yuna (Summoner) and Auron

Final Fantasy X-2: Yuna (Gunner), Rikku, and Paine

Final Fantasy XI: Tarutaru

Final Fantasy XII: Vaan and Ashe

Chocobo

Moogle

Ramuh


Wheels

I've never really been able to get into this series outside of the mini game from Birth By Sleep that ripped it off, but there's no denying the appeal. I think if I had more people to play the games with, I would absolutely love this series. Shame we've only gotten the Mario one, and not this entry with all the Final Fantasy characters.

Now we will start to get to some of the main line titles

6) Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (nes,PS2,DS) - Very innovative Dragon quest, in which the game is broken up into episodes where each of the main characters has there own time to shine, and in the last chapter, like true jrpgness, they band together to defeat the evil. This game is memorable for alot of reasons but for me, the torneko chapter was the best. You didnt fight badguys, you didnt save a princess, you simply ran your store to accumulate profit.


Wheels

The first Dragon Quest game I actually completed, and still one of my favorites. The individual stories and the way they connect together at the end make this a unique and compelling RPG. Of course I highly recommend the DS version over the original NES version.

5) Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (Snes, PS2,DS) - Somewhat fitting that DQ V is V on this list. This game holds a distinction for me. This is one of the few games were I really hated the villians. They killed your dad, your a slave for 10 years, they take your wife, ect. The enemies are true fucking bastards. And when I played it I felt the rage, as if I had been a slave for 10 years ( sorry black people, it probably isnt the same as what you went through). The innovative part of this game revolves around the main character. You play as a the main character in his child, teen, adult forms, and overcome alot of obsticles. Also, this game introduced a very pokemon aspect to the game, as for most of the game, you dont really have a party of "characters" you have one of monsters. You can also choose from one of 3 brides to be (in the ds version, 2 in every other one)


Wheels

Everyone should play this game, and I need say no more than that.

4) Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS) - Radically changed the formula up. No more random encounters, no more defined party members, no more main focus on the story. None of that. It was all about the side quests, world characters, and the gameplay. It was also the first main line Dragon quest released on a portable first. The game was designed to be the most difficult title in the series. What I remember most about the game is the side quests, and earning the legacy maps of each of the final bosses of the previous series. Its like a nostalgia rush to the brain.


Wheels

I really love just about everything from this game. From the visual style, to the touching stories in each of the games towns and cities, to the great job system, there's so much to enjoy here. Who would have thought one of the best games in the series could be compressed onto a tiny little DS cartridge. It was a bold move to make IX a portable title, and it worked out.

3) Dragon Quest Characters: Torneko no Daibōken 3 - Fushigi no Dungeon (GBA/PS2) - WHAT!?!?!?!?! Another side game? Yep, and its my favorite. First released on the gba and later ported to the ps2 ( my favorite version), it is the third Dragon Quest spin-off game in the Mystery Dungeon series. The main character of the game is Torneko, originally localized as Taloon in North America, a merchant playable character from Dragon Warrior IV. The game is the first in the series to feature 3D graphics, and the game includes multiple towns, villages, castles, and dungeons. Some of the locations are not randomly generated. The game includes over 170 types of monsters, and a larger number of items and spells to use in combat than previous Torneko games. Torneko might be my favorite single Dragon quest character because he isnt a hero, simply a mam with a wife running a store.



Wheels

It is a crying shame that we've only ever gotten one of the Torneko Mystery Dungeon games. I don't know if I'd rate any of them up this high, but they are a blast, no doubt about it. Does this one have a fan translation?

2) Dragon Quest VII Eden no Senshitachi (PSX) - This game is simply my second favorite for 3 reasons. 1) You fight god, seriously, hes a boss 2) The game is freakin long, taking me 200 hours to beat it 3) Your totally nailing your childhood friend on the side. The main flow of the game is different than the other Dragon Quest games; instead of exploring one large world, the party goes to separate continents by placing stone shards into their appropriate pedestals. Like most of the other Dragon Quest games, this game has several mini-games to participate in. The Immigrant Town, similar to the one in Dragon Warrior IV, lets the player recruit people from various towns. A prominent feature in most Dragon Quest games is the casino. Poker, slot machines, and luck panel can all be played in Dragon Warrior VII. The Ranking Association allows the player to compete for the highest stats, like the Beauty Competition from Dragon Quest VI. The player can also catch monsters, although they are only displayed in the Monster Park, unlike in Dragon Quest V and VI, where monsters fought in the party. All in all, the game is massive. Thats the best way to describe it, massive.


Wheels

Oh wow, the 100 hour opus. This game is amazing because it seems to be the only PS1 RPG to be spread across multiple discs not because it has a ton of cinematics, but because it's just that damn long. I wish the job system was available much earlier, but I can't deny I've enjoyed this game a lot despite not finishing it yet. The writing on many of the stories you experience as the game goes along is fantastic, with many of them being truly heart breaking. This game needs a nice graphical update.

1) Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2) - The first game to be handled by the Level 5 team (who would later go on to do IX), nailed it on the very first try. They didnt nail it, they just did it better than any other team did it. Dragon Quest VIII uses cel-shading textures for the characters and scenery and is the first game in the series to have fully 3D environments.The game retains most of the series' role-playing game elements, such as turn-based combat and the experience level system. Dragon Quest VIII follows the silent Hero, the main character, and his party of allies as they journey towards the goal of defeating the wicked Dhoulmagus. The kingdom of Trodain has been cursed by Dhoulmagus, with the King, Trode, and his daughter, Medea, transformed into a troll and a horse respectively, and it is up to the Hero to return them to their original form and save the kingdom. This is the main gist of the story. You had 4 main playable characters which I will let you all research but I will name them by what they are best remembered for 1) Silent 2) Moron 3) Titties 4) Womanizer. I put something like 250 hours into this game. Not only is the main story path long, but there are alot of side quests like the monster arena, medal collecting, the casino, and other one off side quests. What most people dont know is the game received voices, specifically for the US version of the game.

I really put my time into this one. So please give it consideration

-Tanto


Wheels

I have given it plenty of consideration, thank you for putting it together! The images weren't showing in my e-mail at first, so I wasn't able to get them in here, but Tanto had screen shots and box arts for each of the games here. Anyway, Dragon Quest VIII is a brilliant and enthralling game, though not my favorite as I don't care for the skill system. This game needs an HD update in the worst way.

Hop on the Hate Train

First, I'd like to list my top 5 worst jrpgs I've ever played


Wheels

Excellent! I'm curious as to what other people will have on their lists. As long as their lists don't contain SaGa.

1- FFXIII- Yes, I am one of those long-term bitter fanboys who hate what Square has done with the series in its last four installments (including the MMORPG ones).  However, with this game there was plenty of objective reason to hate.  In particular, the storytelling was... less than inspiring, even by recent SE standards.  I'm not going to go back into my complaints about the flash vs substance argument, though it is tempting, so I'll end my complaint at this.


Wheels

I have no problem with people hating the game, I get it. I would disagree about the reasons you hated it, but this is about an emotional reaction to a game. The overall story was a bit lacking, but I did love the development of the characters. As for flash vs substance, that certainly applied to the gorgeous FMVs that had little to do with the overall story. Anyway, you hated it, and that's fine. As long as you don't try and tell me it is an awful game, there are no problems here.

2- Ephemeral Fantasia- If you stumbled upon this game, you know what I'm talking about, if you didn't, thank your lucky stars.


Wheels

I have never played it due to its reputation of being horrible, so we can just leave it at that!

3- Star Ocean 4- The only thing to recommend this game for me was its battle system.  Everything else was a symbol of either why I have trouble with English VAs (Welch's voice made me want to scream in pain), a rather blatant display of how the skill of matching music to scenes has degraded in the last ten years or so, or the sad failure to manage to create a sweeping epic with characters that engage intensely enough to draw you into the story.


Wheels

I prefer dubs, even mediocre ones, to listening to the original voices, but these are often worse than mediocre. Still, I do find this reason curious given the PS3 version has the Japanese voices as an option. Regardless, I understand where you're coming from with this one.

4- Dragon Quest IX- A strong example of why strengthening the dungeon crawler elements in a series that already had strong dungeon-crawler elements to it and giving a  game no real story can utterly destroy all interest in that series.


Wheels

DQIX had tons of great stories in each of the locales you visit, which has always been the strongest story telling method in the series, so honestly I have no clue what you're talking about here.

5- FFXII- Again, I am one of the haters.  However, in this case my complaints mostly center around the battle system, which was basically an altered version of the battle system I loathed from playing FFXI.  That the writers utterly failed to make the characters come to life was a major issue as well... and the poor use of the setting only made it worse.  If this game hadn't had the FF label, it probably would have gone down universally as a failure with a few fans who had a taste for the new battle system or were entranced by the visual aspects being its only champions. 


Wheels

It is not an altered version of FFXI's system in the slightest. Where is this comparison coming from? FFXII has parties, no job system, the ability to pause, insanely customizable AI, etc. The presentation of the battle was similar, but FFXII is more like Square Enix's take on a BioWare game. The story had issues yes, though based on rumors and the like we've heard Matsuno probably wasn't given as much freedom as he needed to make the story work. Unlike FFXIII, I don't get the hate or your reasoning here.

Now, setting aside my hate...  I'm going to grab my copy of Growlanser IV from Gamestop today.  I'm more excited about this game than I have been about any other in years... and it occurs to me just how sad that is.  I used to get excited whenever a new jrpg was announced for localization... but recent years have pretty much been an endless series of partial or complete disappointments with a few gems waiting in the rough.  Mentioning gems in the rough...


Wheels

The reason we've seen more mediocre JRPGs is because we've, simply put, seen more JRPGs. You honestly think, had we been getting this many JRPGs in the SNES age that we wouldn't be seeing an almost equal amount of garbage? Come on now. We've become utterly spoiled. If you think there are only a few gems by the way, I've got an enormous list of games to point you to. Anyway, Growlanser IV is something worth getting very excited about. I've been very impressed with what I've seen of the series so far. The developer clearly doesn't have an enormous budget, so what they're able to accomplish is quite impressive.

Here are my top 5 'games that tended to get little attention but were good enough to earn a place in my heart'

1- Growlanser 3- This game pretty much displays all that can be done with the silent protagonist cliche to make it work to enhance the story.  Not only that but visually this game was beautiful in both artwork and the design of the story.  I still cry at certain scenes... and some aren't even particularly major ones.  The atmosphere of desperation that envelops the world in this game is so intense you can almost smell it... but without giving you that sense of absurdity that many games with an 'end of the world' scenario get.


Wheels

I've heard this one is quite good, and I'll get to it as soon as I finish up Growlanser 2. I don't know if you can say it got little attention, being a Working Designs release and all. It comes up a lot as one of the reasons they were having trouble, as they were forced to bundle the two Growlanser games together. Not that it matters. It did not get massive amounts of attention and by the sound of it, it deserved that sort of attention.

2- Radiant Historia- Ok, so this game is recent in the minds of a lot of rpgamers.  However, it definitely did not get the attention or interest it deserved for its level of quality.  I enjoyed this game more than practically any other on the DS, and it was definitely a game worthy of the best of Atlus in its golden years


Wheels

Well I would say we are currently in the Atlus golden years, and this is solid proof of it. One of the best games on the DS, Radiant Historia is a masterpiece. The fact that they had to reprint it shows the sort of word of mouth it likely was getting. I look forward to whatever this team of developers work on next.

3- Digital Devil Saga- Yes, this is part of the Megaten series... but in comparison to the Persona side-series, these games have gotten almost no attention from mainstream rpgamers.  Part of this was the difficulty level of the games, and the other part was that this game came out before P3, thus failing to ride the wave of incredible popularity the series gained after that one's release.


Wheels

Well, before more new copies showed up widely online these two games commanded a high price, so at least some were aware of its quality. No doubt that it doesn't have near the popularity of the Persona series. A nice HD collection of the two games could fix that a big. Get on this Atlus!

4- Wild Arms 2- Ok, you don't get more cliche than a lot of the story elements in this game, and it is generally not considered the best example of the series' storytelling or gameplay.  However, it holds a special place in my heart as the first game where I got to turn into a world-destroyer demon that could unleash destruction upon his enemies with horrifying ease... and that really fed into my teenaged megalomania at the time. 


Wheels

Didn't this come out near the end of the PS1's life? I remember it getting a lot of mediocre reviews that seemed to focus primarily on the visuals, which didn't tell me much. I never got why this one never seemed to get much attention given the popularity of the first game. Oh well, this series never seemed to be able to capitalize on the attention the first game got, and seems to be in limbo as its developer works mostly on the Chaos Rings series.

5- Panzer Dragoon Saga- This game could be notable for any number of reasons, whether it was the unusual battle system, the lower number of copies produced, or the fact that it was pretty much the first game with any sort of VA that used the original Japanese ones in the localization.  Story-wise, it wasn't any better than decent, but as an interesting point for future gamers to check out, it is worthy of more attention than it has received

Well, that's it for today.  Thanks for reading through this long letter.


Sincerely,
Travis Lucius


Wheels

I paid $125 for this game and did not regret a single penny. That about sums it up right? Thanks for the letter!

Musical Adventure

Alright, let's see how you feel this week.
 
Top 5 most loved RPG music pieces and why.
 
As for what you had last week, I was very happy to see Dancing Mad there.  Fantastic final battle music.  Too bad I only have the version that has the music for all four forms in a row...


Wheels

Well, shockingly it is actually the same list as last week! Glad you enjoy Dancing Mad, have you ever heard the version done by The Black Mages?

As for Termination, did you know that there is another Termination in Ys II, as its final battle music?


Wheels

I did! but I still say the version from Ys Origin is the best.

As for my top 5 RPG music pieces:
 
Dancing Mad (FF6).  I don't need to say more, do I?


Wheels

You do not!

Overdrive/Termination (Ys II).  The final two battle musics from Ys II, and some of the most played songs on my iPod.  It changes every week which one I like better.  The jewels of Ys I & II's fantastic soundtrack.


Wheels

A fine collection. There's an amazing variety of great tracks in the Ys catalog, as evidenced by these two. I wonder though, which version of  them? PC Engine? Chronicles?

Twister (The World Ends With You).  I'm kind of cheating with this one, as it is remixed multiple times in the same game, from the opening music to the final boss music.  But if I had to say which version is best, it's definitely the final boss remix version.  It meshes multiple other songs and boss musics from the game into one epic confrontation.


Wheels

This is not cheating because all versions of this song are spectacular.

Ray of darkness, ray of light (Valkyrie Profile).  Surprisingly, not one of the many boss musics from this game.  As the field music for Arkdain Ruins, it perfectly catches the fast-moving pace of the dungeons and battles.  It doesn't hurt that Arkdain Ruins is one of the best places to level up, so I ended up hearing it more than any other music in the game...


Wheels

I hadn't heard this prior to you mentioning it, and after listening to it I can see why you enjoy it so much.

Undersea Palace (Chrono Trigger). A favorite of many from one of the best games of all time (pun intended).  The music captures the feeling of the strange, technologically advanced structure leading up to the most memorable moment in the game.


Wheels

No need to say more, a classic piece from a classic soundtrack. I could listen to that song all day.

And for some runner-ups (this time with multiple songs from the same series, most from Final Fantasy).
 
Battle with Magus (Chrono Trigger).  I’d probably get killed if I didn’t mention this song here.


Wheels

One of the finest boss battle themes out there, my only real issue with this song is it ends just as it's getting good if you beat Magus too quickly.

Battle on the Big Bridge (FF5).  The song that keeps coming back.  As long as Gilgamesh keeps appearing in Final Fantasy related games, I think we’ll keep hearing new versions of this song.


Wheels

I don't think there could ever be too many versions of this song.

Battle to the Death (FF6).  The first time ran up to the strange-looking creature on the Floating Continent, I had no idea what it was (even after it spoke to me).  Then the music started and I saw it’s name on the battle screen.  Oh, $h!?, what the hell did I just fight.  I imagine that many gamers were unprepared for him the first time they fought him…
 
The Decisive Battle (FF6).  The boss music from 6.  Nice and fast paced.


Wheels

All of the boss battle themes in Final Fantasy VI are amazing. Battle to the Death is an amazing piece that successfully captures the unsettled feeling you get when first fighting the atma weapon. Shame that song was only used a few times in the game.

Fight On! (FF7).  As Theatrhythm states, this is one of the most popular musics from the franchise.  The super-fast pace really matches well with the feelings the characters have during many of the boss fights.


Wheels

As many complaints as I have about Final Fantasy VII, this amazing boss theme isn't one of them. It captures the tense and exciting feel of a boss battle as good as any song.

Force Your Way (FF8).  The boss music from 8.  Again, nice and fast paced.


Wheels

A great theme from a soundtrack that I believe to be highly underrated.

Maybe I’m a Lion (FF8).  Ultimecia’s third form.  Pretty accurate at depicting the confusion the player must feel upon seeing the monstrous form of a combined Ultimecia and Greiver.
 
The Extreme (FF8).  Ultimecia’s final form.  The song begins with gentle melodies as Ultimecia speaks to you before suddenly changing into a fast-paced battle music.


Wheels

See previous response.

Seymour battle (FF10).  The music for the final battle with Seymour.  No longer looking anything like a human, it drives you to finally rid the world of this psychopath.


Wheels

Another great theme, despite him not even being the final boss in the game. It's odd that he got his own final battle theme, and yet the last battle with Jecht just uses the same metal theme from the start of the game.

Esper battle (FF12).  While I may not have much love for 12, this music is just epic.


Wheels

I'm sorry to hear you don't have much love for it, but this music we can agree upon. Really makes walking around causing destruction as an Esper feel completely epic.

Saber’s Edge (FF13).   The first boss music from 13, and it also plays during the opening chapter.
 
Eidolons (FF13).  The super-fast pace really helps to drive the player in these timed boss battles.
 
Eden Under Siege (FF13).  The song really helps drive home that the city is being destroyed around you and captures the desperation of the citizens, players, and soldiers all trying to survive.

-Matt


Wheels

Final Fantasy XIII's soundtrack is one of the best in the series, and has really grown on me more and more. I really love Uematsu's work, but it is nice to get some fresh music from new composers. XIII-2's soundtrack is even better in many respects. Thanks for this long and interesting look at some great music!
IN CLOSING

That's it for this week folks!

-Wheels


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