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October 5th, 2012

10/05- 12:00PM EST

Oh Mugen Souls, still trying to prevent me from beating it. I had hoped to have a review for it this week, but alas it was not to be. Look for it next week! Anyway, there's been a lot of gaming and RPG related news this week, such as the excited Etrian Odyssey IV localization news. Also the Ys IV remake for Vita is now out and sitting in my Vita. I haven't played a ton yet, but can tell you that fans of Ys Seven will be quite happy. I'll have more thoughts soon!

Anyway, on to your letters!





The Letters
Hot Topics

‏Short & Sweet


Wheels

Excellent, I'm always up for some rapid fire hot topic responses, have at it!

1) Digital Devil Saga


Wheels

An interesting choice, I'm guessing most would respond with Persona as the best sub-series. Having experienced a fair amount of the first Digital Devil Saga, now I can see the appeal. Taking the demon collecting out of the equation and focusing on simpler character advancement, the series provides a more traditional RPG experience while keeping with the great story elements of the series. That's not even mentioning the great art style and music. I'd go with Devil Survivor myself, but this is a fine choice!

2)Yes


Wheels

I agree. Valkyria Chronicles got a lot of word of mouth buzz and appeared to sell a good amount after its release. Of course this likely means it was selling for a lot cheaper, but I still feel there was enough buzz there to easily justify a sequel on PS3. I mean, they had the engine in place already! Instead it got shrunk down onto PSP and the results were not as good. With some kind of browser card game based on the series now out, it doesn't look like Sega has abandoned it. Here's hoping we see a PS3/Vita Valkyria Chronicles in the future.

3)VI


Wheels

Well you'll get no argument on that here. Final Fantasy VI is one of the finest RPGs of all time. Who's your favorite character?

4)Somewhere


Wheels

As good an answer as any. With many other HD collections and updates coming out, Final Fantasy X seems to be taking much longer than any other HD updated before it. At this rate the Final Fantasy XII HD I'm hoping for wont show up until the PS4.

5)Shadow Hearts

Ciao
Sasser


Wheels

A fine choice, and a collection I would love to buy. I haven't played these games, but have heard many good things. Sadly, they're way too expensive these days. An HD collection would be a prefect way for people who missed out to give them a try, and give the developers some money instead of random ebay sellers.

Thanks for answering the hot topics!

Galactic Emporer of Content

Mr. Heavy Wheels, it's been long enough that I have plenty to say! 

Ready?


Wheels

Setting phasers to "massive response" mode.

Okay.  Let's start with Kingdom Hearts: Deadly Destructive Demonstration or whatever its actual subtitle was.  Except for that session trying and failing to play Chain of Memories, this is my only experience with the series.  It did not make me a fan.  As you seem to be one, though, why is Mickey a King?  What is Organization XIII and why should I care?  Why do I fight nonspecific beasties and almost never enemies taken from the Disney source material I'm traipsing through?  Does Sora have any character trait other than "happy guy who is either stupidly optimistic or ignorantly stupid?"  Why would Sora and Riku, who presumably have triumphed over things in these other games I really don't care to experience soon, need to undergo dream training for some other Keyblade mastery level that this game just made up?  Is the camera rotten in every other game of the series?


Wheels

Kingdom Hearts 3D is probably the worst place to start the series on. Sure it has some text that goes over the previous games, but to me that feels more like a way to remind those who have played them and not a way to completely explain the games. Kingdom Hearts has gathered a rather convoluted back story. I can answer some of these questions. You shouldn't care about Organization XIII overly much and I don't even recall what their point was. t was largely covered in that 358/2 Days (a game I hate). Mickey is a King from the start of the series and it is never really explained! No, Sora never really gains other character traits. Earlier games didn't exactly take beasties from the Disney sources, though they did offer some heartless more tuned to each world and bosses taken from the source material. The Keyblade mastery level idea was actually from Birth By Sleep! I have no idea why the characters suddenly need to do this. Finally, no the camera isn't always that bad -- it can be mitigated if you have a circle pad pro for your 3DS!

All in all, it made me want to watch the Disney movies again instead of experiencing another Kingdom Hearts anytime soon.  Where's that Fantasia copy....
Speaking of movies, connect Bed of Roses (1933) to Cosmic Fantasy!


Wheels

That's a shame, I would recommend you at least give the original game a shot on PS2. The older games had more enemies that fit in with the various locations, and plenty of battles against classic villains! The newer games have gotten a bit away from that and switched the focus too much to original characters. Even though I'm having a blast with KH3D, I can get why you couldn't get into it. Then again, there's nothing like sitting down and watching Fantasia so I can't really say that you shouldn't just do that!

Also. my brain is fried from Mugen Souls so I will save that challenge for later.

Then there's this Tales of the Abyss I recently experienced - I guess it vanished from the index so fast you didn't notice.  Overall a strong game, yes.  You've gotta tell me whether the rumors I hear of Tales games loving to pull its annoying extension is true, though.  The game had very effectively run through its major issues, and then a whole bunch of villain resurrections happened to make what felt like it should have been an epilogue drag the thing out. 


Wheels

Oh, artificially extending game length is essentially a long running Tales series staple. I don't know if the developers think their games need to be a certain length or they'll hurt sales or what, but it certainly hurt the overall quality of Abyss. You know I greatly enjoyed that game, but if it were at a minimum 10 hours shorter with a tighter design for the end of the story it could have been a true classic. Someone needs to tell the Tales developers that not every RPG needs to be sixty hours long.

I may not have touched it in the years since, but I nevertheless had a quite good time with Tales of Phantasia on GBA.  Word is that it's a rather lacking version of the game, but I did everything and toppled Dhaos after spending something like 70 hours in it.  Is the game really so outmoded by what came later?


Wheels

Oh it is, by leaps and bounds. Not just in the battle system, but in characters, story, and dungeon design as well. Some of the story elements in later games can be as derivative as Tales of Phantasia, but never as bad as that game was. I don't think the GBA version is that bad for the record -- I think every version of the game is awful! Not sure how you put that much time into the game, but glad you had a much better time with the game than I did.

I noticed something disturbing.  After TwinBahamut and I touted Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation so effectively, you started playing it.  Then the progress reports, they stopped!  What happened?  If you say you were no longer entranced by the game, well, that's just mind-boggling.  Had you even reached Bian Zoldark and his Valsione?  You'd better, later you can look forward to the R-Gun Rivale tormenting your people


Wheels

Sadly (as often happens), I got distracted by newer, shinier games. In this case, I got really into Devil Survivor and played the heck out of it. With that filling my tactical needs, poor Super Robot Taisen got neglected. I'll get back to it though! I didn't stop playing it because I disliked it, I can guarantee you that.

What do you know about Shadow Hearts?  The breadth of your experience just might reach that far, and I'm going to move into the series soon.  Beyond what I already did with Koudelka that is, where I discovered something fundamentally incompatible for me: random battles and horror.  I'm sorry, but if random battles were terrifying then I would have run away screaming long ago, so attempting to blend survival horror with the RPG was already doomed on that front with me.


Wheels

Sadly, I know absolutely nothing about that series. With many of the titles now relatively expensive, I could never justify giving them a try. I'm hoping they'll show up in an HD collection, or at least as PS2 classics on PSN so they can be had for less.

Here I was, all set to play Front Mission 2 on the PS2.  The stupid Magic disc won't register it as a proper piece of software though.  I didn't want to employ emulation, but I may have to in order to get this actual piece of software to work.  Screw you and your import difficulties, Sony.


Wheels

Thankfully, with a decent computer PS2 emulation is quite easy and generally speaking all on the level, especially given that you do have a PS2. I wont go into detail here, but a quick Google search for PCSX2 will find you all the info you need to get going. If you want to try some other methods to get the disc working on your actual PS2 I can probably help you there as well!

How go the efforts to play Valkyrie Profile?  Have you reached chapter 4 and Lezard's fascinating fixation on Valkyrie as an object of desire yet?  Whose tales of woe and death have you encountered thus far?


Wheels

I haven't gotten that far yet, as like SRT other games have distracted me from this effort (like that retroview of Lunar Sega CD I keep forgetting to work on by actually playing that game). It's on the short list of older games to play. I'm close to finishing another PSP RPG and will probably focus on it next.

Okay.  I just reviewed Suikoden.  I won't go into why it didn't floor me so much, except for the inventory.  That inventory management just got on my nerves.  It really, really got on my nerves, especially when I had to figure out who had something I wanted to sell but the game just rearranged my party for a plot point.


Wheels

Oh, I can understand not liking Suikoden I a huge deal. The game hasn't aged tremendously well. Still, I found it to be a very interesting and original game with concepts that are further developed in the immediate sequel. It is much better served as a companion title to Suikoden II than it is on its own.
 
Story wise I can definitely respect what it was trying to do, I just don't think it entirely succeeded.  I suppose people might shout about spoilers if I get to specific, but the ending really surprised me in a not-so-good way when the true villain I figured would be the final boss... wasn't.  Not that said villain was actually as intimidating as I expected, given her scant appearances and not particularly deep motivation which boiled down to "I have done nothing else but search for this Rune over 300 years, why was it so blasted hard to find?" 


Wheels

That could have been one of the many plot threads intended to be resolved later on in the series that never was. Suikoden I was a bit rough around the edges in many respects, this being one of them. Again, this game works best as a companion to the next one, if for no other reason than you get to see the origins of some characters that show up again in II.

Ahem.  Anyway, wouldn't it have been nice if Konami had released the Saturn version of Suikoden concurrently with the PS1?  Instead it only happened in 1998, when there was no way it would cross the Pacific.


Wheels

That would have been nice. I don't know if there's anything different about the Saturn version, but I would have loved to play it on that system. Of course that would mean I wouldn't have a save file to import into II!

Based on half an hour of Suikoden 2 I can say it's looking better than the first to me, though that translation does suck and Konami's editors at the time do not deserve further employment.  More to come later.


Wheels

Oh my, is there more to come. Suikoden II is an incredible game in a number of ways, and really fulfills the promise of the first game. I think I've said many times that I spent a huge amount of money getting a copy of that game, and don't regret it one bit. I wont go into further for fear of spoilers, but you should enjoy the villains in this one quite a bit more. I hope you enjoy it!

Hey, I played Dark Cloud 2!  It's much better than the first!  I still didn't love it because apparently I needed to spend twice the time I actually did with the game in pursuing its theoretically-diverting side content, which I didn't!  Oh well.  It did look nice.


Wheels

Outside of the original Dark Cloud Level-5's signature has been fantastic graphics. Doesn't sound like you exactly loved Dark Cloud 2. It would have to work hard to be worse than the first game! I'm still going to ignore it, because I just don't think it'll be my thing. Strangely it didn't make it to greatest hits status like the first did. I wonder why that is?

Put Elizabeth Taylor in an RPG, won't you?


Wheels

Well seeing how she was in a Lassie movie, let's cast here in some kind of Harvest Moon type Lassie RPG as the main character. The player would go on adventures with the dog and help out around the farm. Depending on how the player progresses, Lassie could die at the end of the game or it could end in some kind of heartwarming fashion.

It is my understanding that some people swear by Legend of Dragoon being a really good, even great, game, while others (yourself among them) detest it with a fiery passion.  I've never touched it.  Should I?


Wheels

No, avoid it like the plague! It is boring and largely derivative of a lot of RPGs of the time. The battle system is especially boring and takes forever to get you anything to use outside of regular attacks and items. Yet somehow it still tops sales on PSN. I don't get it!

Is Legend of Legaia something I should stick on the must-play list?


Wheels

I haven't played it, but my brother loved it! Apparently it has a battle system that takes a lot from fighting games? Might not be a must-play, but something interesting to try at the least.

Were you ever curious about CIMA: The Enemy?  Don't be!  It sucks!  The game reminds me of Steal Princess in some respects, given the emphasis on figuring out puzzles the right way.  It manages to be one gigantic escort mission, though!  The only RPG parts to it are killing enemies in front of the stupid people you're escorting causing them to like you (which mostly has no effect) and being able to upgrade your equipment whenever the game says you can.  Hey, do you like escort missions using GBA controls with people who can and will get killed because there is no recovery time between hits?  You DO?  Then this is your game, forget what I said and find it immediately!


Wheels

OK, adding CIMA to the list of games to never buy no matter what.

Where have the Castlevania games we cover gone?  Dangit, I liked all the Metroidvania games.  Even Harmony of Dissonance I must've liked since I played the whole thing, dull though it was. 


Wheels

Well they did the whole reboot of the series on HD consoles, which was a good game but I guess not RPG enough for us to cover (it wasn't Metroidvania). Fear no though, as a 3DS entry is headed our way and appears to be more in that style. Hopefully this will fill your needs! I could never get into them much past Symphony of the Night but respect that style.

Connect Bright Leaf with Vixen 357!


Wheels

I shall ... at a later date!

Do you know anything about Jade Empire that I should also know?  I'm definitely interested in it, you don't have to sell me on finding the game.


Wheels

You should know that you travel between locations by playing a top down shooter. I can't make this up! It's a good game, though not BioWare's best effort by a long shot. Find it for a decent price and I'm sure you'll be able to extract plenty of enjoyment from it.

How long should I wait to experience Mass Effect, to ensure the furor over its conclusion has passed and I will be safely able to judge it without rose- or - mud- tinted glasses?

That's enough for now, actually! 
JuMeSyn


Wheels

Oh, feel free to jump into it right now. The hoopla has pretty much died down. Even if it hadn't, I would still say to jump into it. Mass effect is all about the amazing journey and how personal it becomes for each player. That's why there was so much anger over the ending, because everything before that point had been so good (note that I liked the ending despite its issues). You really shouldn't worry too much about how it all comes to a close. Mass Effect may not have all the stats and skill trees we often love in RPGs, but it makes up for that tenfold with player choice. You will not regret playing this series!

See you next time, and as always thank you for the great questions!

Response

My thinking with Nintendo is not only Last Story and Fire Emblem. Golden Sun, Pokemon, Mario rpgs, publishing Dragon Quest, Xenoblade ect.

rpgs are a big part of what they do.


Wheels

Yeah, I can see your point. Though many of these aren't nearly as big as its non-RPG titles, Nintendo still has been putting a lot of them out. Their publishing of the Dragon Quest series outside of Japan since the release of Dragon Quest IX was a large endevour on its own. Thing is, I don't know that its so much RPGs are a big part of what they do as it is just keeping a diverse porfolio. Don't want all your ducks in one pond! Regardless, we RPG fans have certainly benefitted.

Namco just puts out alot of really great stuff like Tales of the World 1-3

-Alan


Wheels

Please tell me this was a typo. I have played each of these three games a good deal and they are not good! The first Tales of the World especially was a mess of a game. They're boring dungeon crawlers trying to hide this fact with copious amounts of fan service. Please people, don't import these games! Import good Tales games like Tales of Destiny 2 Remake and Tales of Hearts!
IN CLOSING

See you all next week!

-Wheels


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What I can't wait for:

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5. What PS2 RPG series other than Final Fantasy would you like to see an HD collection of?
 
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