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This Week, Contest Time!
September 29th, 2010

09/29 - 12:00PM EST

  Welcome to another week of....WAIT A SECOND. Stop the phone. Tales of the Abyss is coming to the 3DS! Guys, this news is just tops. I love that game a ton, and it will be great to have it on the go. Presuming it comes to the US of course. Anyway, welcome to another episode of Ask Wheels. I'm going to jump right into the letters, and save contest details for the outro! Check it out.

The Letters
Beat of Madness...Again

Wheels rose to power by answering questions.  But some of his policy has people asking questions of their own.  Questions Wheels hasn't seen fit to address yet.


Alright Beat, let's see where you're going with this craziness. This is even more crazy than the last one you sent in.

Wheels claims to be knowledgeable about RPGs, but if that's true, why hasn't he played Skies of Arcadia?  Such a classic seems like an odd omission for an "Expert".


I'll be honest, I simply was not a Dreamcast guy. In the ruins of the Saturn I was very angry at Sega and had no interest in supporting its next system. So I didn't, though I did buy one (used) when the system was on its last legs. I guess it was a kind of savage pleasure to see it fail? Not to mention I didn't have a Gamecube until very late: I just missed out on Skies of Arcadia. I have played some super-rare RPGs, isn't that a better qualifier as an expert?

Wheels claims to be an American citizen, but how many American citizens do you know that worship Kawazu, and know the proper pronunciation for Ys?


Alright, I will admit that not too many people like Kawazu games, but that doesn't mean anything. He's got a small but loyal fanbase here. Heck, there was even a cool Unlimited Saga fan site. So don't you go insulting the maestro! As far as being able to pronounce Ys, I didn't for a long time until I heard someone else say it the right way. Not to mention the proper pronunciation is readily available on Wikipedia. Sounds to me like you're grasping at straws, or you just need to play some Ys.

Ask yourself, is a man who refuses to address so many questions really capable of giving us the answers?


I've answered all your questions. Even the awful ones. Heck I've even answered Kawazu-hating questions which proves that I am an even-minded person.

We think you can answer that one yourself.

Paid for by the commission to elect BEAT.


I see. Now the truth comes out, Beat you are a snake! Please write in again though because this was enjoyable. Maybe you could tell me why Skies of Arcadia is awesome and why you refuse to play Ys? :)

SaGa questions from the land of the rising sun

Hey there, fellow columnist!

You know I was just trying to get your goat with that "screwed over" comment last time, right?  Anyhow, I'm more concerned with the fact that you have yet to play SaGa Frontier II, one of the prettiest games in the series!  It's also (strangely) the most linear game the series has ever produced, and the only one that would put the lie to my comment that Kawazu doesn't do politically involved, centralized plot-lines.  In fact, the entire setting of Gustaf the Steel's war to retake his birthright would make for a great tactical game.


I know, I know! No worries. Anyway, SaGa Frontier II is very high up on my games-to-play list, I just have some other games I want to finish up first. Keep asking me about it and I'm sure eventually I'll have some experiences to share! Your constant praise of it keeps getting me more and more interested. Not that I wasn't interested, given it's a Kawazu game, but I've been focused on replaying the first two gameboy games lately given the remakes of SaGa 2 and Saga 3. I will play it though, you can be sure of that.

Now, as to one of the side items on your last column: "SaGa 3 remake, will it be handled by Kawazu, so he can Kawazu it up?" The answer is YES. Buried in all the TGS coverage on Dengeki's site is this interview with the man himself, as well as the guy behind the SaGa DS remakes, Mr. Miura. To paraphrase a bit, it's stated that the goal with SaGa 2 was to remake, while the goal with SaGa 3 is to change it and make it anew, working from commentary by the Japanese SaGa fans as to where the original SaGa 3 fell short and changing it from a fairly orthodox (their own word) RPG into something more akin to the rest of the series.

I think I might just pick this one up, after all...


That is fantastic news! By "the goal with SaGa 3 is to change it and make it anew" I get the feeling they're talking about bringing it more in line with the rest of the SaGa series. SaGa 2 did this as well, certainly not to the same extent, but it certainly did. There were a lot of interesting things about SaGa 3, but for the most part, it was standard by-the-book JRPG. If you look back at those three gameboy games, I bet most people will find that the third game has aged the worst from a pure gameplay perspective. I was kind of annoyed about the announcement at the start, but the more I hear, the more it sounds like they're putting together a great remake. I'll have to pre-order this one.

As to item #5 on your talking points: "Eternal Sonata was certainly a unique idea for a game, if you were to make a game with the same concept, what musical artist would you choose and what would the game be like?" I have only this for a reply.

Live long and answer questions!


Wow Gaijin, this is just comedic gold. P.D.Q. Bach? Dreams the game world while recovering from a bender? I love this. I'm just going to say that anyone reading this should take a short break to enjoy what I assume is a fantastic April Fools joke. If only it were true!

Please write in again Gaijin!

Six Degrees of Brownie Brown

Hello again, Wheels,
I just figured I'd shoot you a quick letter. I normally try to "reserve" multiple questions and topics for Q&A letters, but I find that this either takes too long and/or I forgot questions along the way. Anyway, what RPGs really pleasantly surprised you or exceeded your expectations? Maybe you bought the game because it was cheap or received it as a gift and didn't expect much from it. However, you grew to really enjoy  it. Recently, this game for me was Magical Starsign, one of the DS's earliest RPGs.  This game really flew under people's radars and while most reviews are on the positive side they make it out to be nothing special. I suppose it's nothing too special, but I was really surprised by how much I liked it. The battle system is perhaps its weakest suit, being a rather simple, almost turn-based system heavily reliant on magic. There are some interesting mechanics, such as tapping the enemies at just the right time to inflict more damage with a spell, an element's power increasing when the right planet is aligned just right, and putting a character in the front or back rows to change the spell from hitting one target to multiple. It's not bad, but I've played much better turn-based systems. The rest of the game is pretty good, though, especially the writing and humor.


Magical Starsign would actually almost make that list for me. Though I didn't end up liking it all that much, I was certainly drawn in by the classic "Square-Enix" art style though. At a bargain price, to be honest, Magical Starsign would actually be a really good buy. I guess since I got it at full price I'm a little harder on it?

I'll give you two RPGs I got at a bargain that turned out to be awesome. The first would have to be Shiren the Wanderer for the DS, which I got for under ten dollars. It's a very well put together roguelike, but sadly Sega basically sold it as a regular RPG, which is just not a good frame of mind to have when going into that type of game. Having to start over the game when you die can certainly be a turn off, but progress is made in other ways, and it really is a well put together game. I absolutely got my monies worth.

The second would be Valkyria Chronicles. I didn't have a PS3 when it first came out, but I picked it up once I did have a PS3. The demo didn't do much for me, but I decided to try it anyway since it was available for just $19.99 new. It totally blew away my expectations. It's great to see Sega making good SRPGs again, as the Shining Force games are what made me a Sega fan back in the day. I actually wish I could have bought it when it first came out to give it an extra first week sale!

  If you're familiar with Nintendo's localizations for the Mario RPGs and the like, then you'll know what to expect. It's also interesting, if surprising how dark this game can get. There are plenty of bright colors and food puns, but there is also a suicidal cat-girl and robots that run on batteries made from wizards turned into gummy candies. Can you tell that Brownie Brown, who developed Mother 3, made this game?
Connecting games? Let me think...How about Kid Icarus to Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean?
Well, that's all for now. Until next time, Wheels!
-Strawberry Eggs


The localization was quite good, just like the goofy and fantastic Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario localizations. I could tell it was a Brownie Brown game! It's got that whole Secret of Mana look, as you'd expect from ex-Square-Enix employees who worked there during that era. Though they haven't made any great games (other than Mother 3)  it's at least good to see that art style live on.

As for that connection challenge? Easy.

Kid Icarus->Developed/Published by Nintendo->Nintendo worked with Namco on Star Fox for Gamecube->Namco published Baten Kaitos.

Thanks again, keep writing in!


I haven't actually written in since the days of WonderSlime.  What ever happened to him?
My question is related to the DSi.  I don't actually have one at this time, but I hope to at some time in the future, so I try to check on their releases to see if any good RPGs are released as DSiWare.  From what I understand, there have been a couple that have been released, but I have never seen any coverage of them on this site.  For example, an RPG called Zenonia just came out this week.  Do you think there will be any reviews of it on RPGamer?


Not sure what happened to WonderSlime, probably got burnt out doing this!

I think I've heard of two RPGs for DSiware, the first is Legends of Exidia from Gameloft which I think was originally a cell phone game. I've heard it's an OK Action RPG, but not much better than that, and also it is apparently pretty short.  It looks like a Secret of Mana type game, though obviously probably not as good. The other is Zenonia, also an action RPG originally released for iPhone. I've heard good things about it, and I did read one mostly glowing review of it. At less than 10 bucks it probably doesn't need to be that good! I'm not sure how much coverage there will be on the site, but it's certainly on my radar, that's for sure.  As an Action RPG, it sounds like it will fit better on the DS than the iPhone.

Great question, send in some more!

That's it for this week. and right on to the contest details. Send me a letter or tweet from now until 11.59 E.S.T. October 26th and you will have the chance to win a copy of the limited edition of Ys: The Oath in Felghana for PSP. Multiple letters don't improve your chances, but are welcome. That's all folks, next week we've got some Saturn and Shining Force talk, so stay tuned!


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About the Host

Quote Archives

What I can't wait for:

1. Ys: Oath in Felghana for PSP

2. 4 Warriors of Light

3. Fallout: New Vegas

4. Halo: Reach DLC

5. Z.H.P.

On my Playlist:

1. JDK Band

2. Green Day

3. Lots of baseball

Hot Topics:

1. Duke Nukem Forever is actually going to come out, does this mean we still have a chance at getting Mother 3? and 7th Dragon? and Secret of Mana 2?

2. SaGa 3 remake, will it be handled by Kawazu, so he can Kawazu it up?

3. If someone were to make a Halo RPG, who would you want to make it, and what should it be like?

4. If you had to choice for Atlus to release Persona 2 (both parts) on PSP or Persona 4 on PSP (Persona 3 Portable style), which would you choose?

5. Eternal Sonata was certainly a unique idea for a game, if you were to make a game with the same concept, what musical artist would you choose and what would the game be like?

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