|This Week, Shiny
Tales of Haikus
|August 18th, 2010
08/18 - 12:00PM EST
Hello and welcome to Ask Wheels. This week we've got some great
letters, including one in which said reader blabs as much as I do, plus
haikus! Also the very first Twitter question! Just as a note, I now
have an honest backlog of questions, so if your question is not in this
week, fear not! Anyway let's jump straight into the Letters this
Wherein Someone Else Talks As Much
Great to see Q&A is back. I think I'll start getting back into
writing to the column again by addressing the hot topic that interests
me the most.
where this is going and I thought I was through with said topic...
Are Tales fans being screwed? Mmm, concerning the lack of ToG
localization, I would say yes, but maybe NOT. Here's how I see it: It's
no secret that Tales games sell best on Sony consoles, as that's where
a lot of their fans are, in Japan especially. When Namco made ToS and ToV, they
announced the localizations of those games right away, before
seeing how they would sell. When those games failed to sell well,
that's when their Sony versions were made to pull a profit. As you
said, the Tales series isn't all that popular in NA and Europe, so
spending the time and money to localize TWO versions of the same Tales
game in our regions would seem like a waste, profit-wise. I think
that's the reason why, with the exception of ToL and TotA, every single
localized Tales game has multiples versions, yet only one version of
each game has been localized here. Combine these two phenomena, and the
result is that we got the inferior versions of ToS and ToV and ONLY
those versions, which displeases fans.
A lot of what
you're saying here makes sense. The Sony consoles are generally more
popular in Japan for sure, and if you compare sales of the
non-Sony Tales to their Sony
counterparts, the Sony ones generally sell more. However in
the US, the two Tales of Symphonia games
RPGs on these platforms?
Let's not try to read too much into this though, as the Gamecube and
Xbox 360 (referring to Tales of
Symphonia and Tales of
Vesperia) are obviously less popular in Japan, so naturally the
releases on the more popular systems would be expected to sell more,
especially with bonus features. Regardless of fan complaints and
the disappointment of not getting extras, I think both Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Vesperia were released on
correct platforms here. A lack of RPGs on the Gamecube gave Tales of Symphonia a great
opportunity , and, in my opinion, Tales
on the 360 gave the game the largest
available at the time (Also I've heard rumors Microsoft may have
been involved in some way to get it as a timed exclusive, similar to Star Ocean 4). I can understand
fans being annoyed at not
getting the "improved" edition of these games, but this isn't something
new, as we often miss out on re-releases like Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job
Now, Tales of Graces is an
odd one. By series standards it sold poorly and was very buggy. These
two factors could easily prevent the thing from
coming over here. However, the Wii lacks RPGs, and I really
think it would have found a good audience here.
Just a note though, let's not use the word screwed! It implies that
Namco specifically wants Tales fans not to get the latest goodness in
the series, which is not the case. We may not agree with the reasons
for not bringing over Tales of Graces
were we to find them out, but I'm certain they have good reasons.
So I think that with Graces,
they decided to do things differently.
They COULD have localized the game here right away, but if it failed to
sell well and warrant a PS3 version, then we would be left with only
the inferior version (which I personally wouldn't have a problem with,
but many other Tales fans would) and nothing else. So instead of
potentially repeating history, I think Namco decided to bide their time
and wait and see how well ToG
sells on the Wii to see if a PS3 version
would be warranted. That way, if they end up with two versions of the
game, as they indeed ended up making, they can THEN localize the
superior Sony version for NA and Europe. They couldn't do this for ToS
and ToV because they jumped
the localization gun. So if they must
localize one and only one version, then by biding their time this way,
they can localize the eventual superior version for us, which may the
reason why they held off on a ToG localization for all this time. If
they localize the better version, then it would have a better chance of
getting good review scores and attracting an audience, so it helps them
as well as us. Of course, until the PS3 version is officially announced
for localization, this is all just speculation and wishful thinking on
Despite the success of Tales of Symphonia 2 on the Wii, The PS3 obviously has a
larger hardcore audience. Perhaps they did want to take a wait and
see approach on a PS3 version. However, they did state they have no
plans to bring it over, though these kinds of things can
change quickly if it sells well in Japan.
So maybe the moral of the story is, whenever Namco makes a Tales game
for a non-Sony console, just wait for the inevitable Sony version to
arrive with added features. Just look at ToP (twice it happened for
this game), ToS, ToV, and now ToG. Maybe with the new PS3 Tales game,
Namco just decided to skip the first step in the whole
I think it has more to
do with the continued increase in sales of the PS3 in Japan. After Graces failed to sell well on the
perhaps they decided to give the PS3 a full shot. Then again,
perhaps they've just been working on it for awhile, and without
Microsoft money lining their pockets, decided to just use the PS3 for
next Tales. More importantly,
I just hope the thing is good!
Also, about DQVI, how well do
you think it would be received here now?
Now that DQIX is released
here with all its series refinement, how well
would a game that goes back to an older and more archaic moment in the
series fare now that fans are used to DQIX's
Talk to you next week,
(wow, I haven't used that name in ages ::gets nostalgic::)
sure how well Dragon Quest VI
will be received by fans, but I think it will be received better by Dragon Quest IX fans new to the
series than the other DS titles given that it features a job system as
well. Obviously the more archaic graphics will be a turn off, but
hopefully new Dragon Quest
fans will be interested in looking back on the series.
Anyways, thanks for writing in FirstAid! Please do so again, and
welcome back :)
Tweeting about Shiny Things
The first AskWheels twitter question!
7threst @AskWheels Hey Wheels, nice to see Q&A return! Short
question: ever played the Saturn Shining
Force-games? And are they
worth hunting down?
I have played them, and they are absolutely worth tracking down! I'll
even throw in some info on the other Saturn based Shining games.
3 was released in three parts for the Saturn, and it is
the finest stretch of games Camelot Software Planning has ever
produced. Though I've only completed the first part of Shining Force 3 (the only one ever
released officially in English), I've heard the other parts are even
better. It has classic tactical RPG gameplay, but with tons of
scenarios that really challenge you in a lot of different ways.
Graphically the games look nice and have aged well, which, given how
awful a lot of 3D was on the Saturn, is quite impressive. The story is
interesting and thanks to the hard work of some kind folk who
translated the script you can easily play parts two and three. They are
worth checking out, though they will not be cheap. The price
however, is justified because you will be getting some of the
finest Tactical RPG gameplay ever fashioned.
There are two other Shining
Games which you may be interested in. The first is Shining the Holy Ark which is a
very difficult First-Person RPG. Though it's not a single dungeon like
many games of this type, it is not any less difficult than your typical
dungeon crawler. There are so many mind-bending puzzles, and difficult
all over the place. It's a great game, but the 3D graphics haven't
exactly aged well. The story to the game is somewhat tied to Shining
Force 3, though you probably won't be able to figure it out easily, as
played both and never realized it. It's an incredibly long game too, so
don't go into this one unless you have a lot of free time.
Finally, there's Shining Wisdom
which is the first Action-RPG in the Shining
series. It's more of a Zelda type game than it is an
Action-RPG to be honest. I haven't played much of it, but due to the
localization by Working Designs it's worth checking out. I hear it
has some characters from Shining
Force 2, however these names are changed in the English version
so it's not immediately apparent.
Anyway, long story short, the Shining
games for Saturn are worth checking out,
especially if you're a fan of the games on the Genesis.
JRPGs going the way of the Dodo?
Show me some recently released JRPGs that prove that the genre is not a
dead branch on the evolutionary tree of video games, recycling boring
mechanics and leveraging childish, maudlin writing and blatant
fanservice to seperate unwitting manchildren from their cash. I need to
know what hope there is for the future.
There's plenty of hope my good man,
and I don't think you need to look much further than Dragon Quest IX, The Monster Hunter series,
Final Fantasy XIII, Ys Seven, Demon's Souls, and of
course, as always, the Shin Megami
Tensei series. These games cover a variety of different
gameplay experiences, and they've all done interesting things with the
JRPG formula. Each brought some interesting multi-player and more
gameplay to the classic Dragon Quest
series. Monster Hunter gets rid
of all the fat by completely removing story element and focusing
multi-player grinding style gameplay similar to Phantasy Star Online. Final
XIII, while a lot of people had issues with it, really
did a lot to advance JRPGs with its super fast-paced take on classic
turned based combat. Ys Seven continues
gameplay, and not delving too much into
clichéd stories. Demon's
JRPG at all, focusing on dungeon
crawling, atmosphere, and purely challenging difficulty instead of
The Shin Megami Tensei series
us a huge variety of
different gameplay types with mature stories, something which the
clichéd games do not do.
So these games/series do a lot of things to advance
JRPGs, and they're all
(mostly) very popular. Yes, there are a lot of games out there doing
the complete opposite. Games like Arc
in all the things you
listed as major issues with JRPGs. There are also JRPGs that are taking
clichés in a, let's say, disturbing
direction, but if the most popular
JRPGs in Japan are the ones that aren't full of clichés and
new and fresh (or in the case of Dragon
Quest at least do old things really well), then I'd say
there's plenty of hope for JRPGs. Sure, there's a ton of garbage, but
the same is true for Western RPGs. Two
As you can see from my official RPGamer review, I thought Crystal Bearers was a horrible mess.
In haiku, please explain why I am wrong.
OK I'll accept that challenge, and here you go, the reasons why Crystal Bearers is fantastic, in
Crystal Bearers is
A wacky game full of fun
The music is fun
The graphics are amazing
At least for the Wii
Controls can be bad
However story is good
It is just good fun
Well that's all for this week. I'd like to know what you all think of Valkyria Chronicles
II based on the demo (I loved it). I just got Ys
Seven so that will probably be knocking Persona 3 Portable out of my
PSP for awhile. I'm still determined to finish it by the end of the
year though. This really is a great year for PSP gamers, and RPGs in
general, and we've still got many games to go!
Okay, now onto the first ever AskWheels contest. The prize? Your choice
Ys I&II for virtual console (US residents only), or one of the
following from Steam: Fallout,
or Knights of the Old Republic.
Wii number or Steam name if you
win, so if you aren't comfortable doing so please do not enter.
Anyway, now that we have that out of the way, the contest is simple:
Send me a letter for use in the column (about anything you want,
doesn't have to be about the prize games) and at the end of said letter
published the first version of Ys
to come out in the US. Everyone who
answers this correctly I will put into a hat and I will draw a winner
end of the month. That's it! (You can also tweet this to me)
Till next week....
August 11th: Wheels
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Valkyria Chronicles 2
2. Etrian Odyssey 3
3. Ys Seven
4. Halo : Reach
5. Bioshock Infinite
On my Playlist:
1. Ys Seven Soundtrack
2. Persona 4 Soundtrack
3. Them Crooked Vultures
1. What's your Favorite SaGa game?
2. Will Disgaea 4 retain 2D Sprites or go for visual flair?
3. You all better be buying Valkyria Chronicles 2
4. Will Fallout : New Vegas be better than Fallout 3?
5. Mass Effect 2 on PS3? How will they deal with all the factors
decided by a Mass Effect 1 Playthrough?