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ASK WHEELS
Jet Set Radio Wheels
October 19th, 2012

10/19- 12:00PM EST

Well, I guess some people were surprised by the score I ended up giving Mugen Souls. I really wanted to like this game, but as the review shows that didn't happen. All I can say is it's my honest experience with the game, and I'll leave it at that. In other news, Ys on the Vita is quite spectacular! Now that I have a full party combat has gotten exceptionally fun. I'm also playing Silent Hill Book of Memories on Vita for review, so keep an eye out for that.

My inbox has been barren of late, I guess it's time for another contest to get ya'll to write in? Send me your ideas for the next contest!

Anyway, on to your letters!





The Letters
Jet Beat Radio

‏Dear Wheels

Sorry I didn't write you sooner but I have a good excuse!

Jet Set Radio.

No seriously.  Jet set radio!  Man I love that game.  If happiness were a game that game would be Jet Set Radio!


Wheels

I never played it much past the demo, but it sure does have a great look to it, and an amazing soundtrack! I guess being a Dreamcast hater (for stupid reasons related to the Saturn) made me miss some great games. Perhaps I should try the new HD version? Maybe even on the Vita?

But I'm sure you disagree.  You ALWAYS disagree!  You NEVER listen to me!


Wheels

Maybe I will after I actually play the game! Actually let's just say that this is the case, Jet Set Radio is terrible, how can you even enjoy something so awful? Your taste in games is clearly questionable at best.

So what's the game you equate with happiness?

-BEAT


Wheels

Recently that has been anything Ys related and lots of Shin Megami Tensei. Ys games get straight to the point and are filled with excellent music so I always find them enjoyable to just pick up and play. There's nothing quite like the accomplishment of beating an Ys game on hard. As for Shin Megami Tensei, those games always have solid combat with plenty of skill variety, character development, and strategy so they just make me happy even if I'm getting utterly destroyed. Older games I can always go back to for some happiness would have to be Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. They never get old!

P.S. RPGs Suck


Wheels

Well, Jet Set Radio has lots of "grinding" which would technically make it an RPG, so what do you think about your statement now?

Genre Shock

  @AskWheels Quick Q&A: Should System Shock 1 & 2 be covered on our site?  They came in the 90s, when RPG elements were much less common...

-JuMeSyn


Wheels

I would say so. Sometimes genre definitions are a bit too strict and we then end up putting games in a category they don't fit well in. For example, Dishonored gets put in the Action Adventure category, but does it really fit there? With so much choice, character upgrade options (though limited) and emphasis on playing the main character the way you want to, it really fits more into the Action-RPG category for me. Sometimes we focus in too much on the stat elements of RPGs, and not enough on the story and character choices that are the other reasons that tabletop RPGs became so popular. Granted, we can just put everything in the RPG category that has elements of this, but I think the games that do belong there are often quite clear. So the long and short of it is that yes I think we should be able to cover them. Afterall, do these games really fit in well with first person shooters?

 Connect Bed of Roses (1933) to Cosmic Fantasy!


Wheels

Bed of Roses was distributed by RKO -> RKO distributed the original King Kong -> Ubisoft published a game based on the remake of King Kong -> Ubisoft published Lunar Dragon Song -> Working Designs published the Sega CD and PSX versions of the first two Lunar games -> Working Designs publish Cosmic Fantasy 2 -> Cosmic Fantasy 2 is a sequel to Cosmic Fantasy.

Connect Bright Leaf with Vixen 357!


Wheels

Bright Leaf was distributed by Warner Bros. -> Sega helped Warner Bros. co-publish The Matrix Online -> Sega published Shiren the Wanderer for Wii in Japan -> Atlus published the Wii Shiren game in the US -> Atlus owns CareerSoft -> CareerSoft was originally part of Nippon Computer Systems Corp. -> Nippon Computer Systems Corp. published Vixen 357.

Checkmate

@AskWheels Describe, in detail, all the ways Chess is better than anything else.

-Falselogic


Wheels

There's so much to be said about what an amazing and enduring game Chess is. Heck there's whole books written just about the endgame in Chess, not even about it as a whole. The game could be the textbook definition of "easy to learn, hard to master." I wont lie and say I'm good at the game, because I'm not. I still love playing some Chess and I can't recommend it enough to anyone that hasn't actually played the game. There's plenty of computerized versions free of charge all over the internet! Chess is good for the brain.

Legend of wild Dragoons

First, my opinion on Legend of Dragoon.  At the time I first played it, it was competing with FFVII and I was still in my stage where I bought every jrpg I came across. 

First, the pros:

1-The music: Legend of Dragoon's music was excellent, and it quite honestly left its contemporaries in the dust on this issue (other than Chrono Cross, which has yet to be matched by any other rpg in that area). 


Wheels

I'll have to give the soundtrack a listen some time, as I can't really recall any of it. The name of the composer doesn't seem to ring a bell, and it appears he died at a young age due to liver cancer, yikes! That is awful...

2-The setting: Say what you want about the game's story.  It is yet another cliched save the world story where one of the main heroines is the vessel for the ultimate evil.  However, the setting, with the various races that once existed, the entire mess with humanity being enslaved at one time, and the dark (for the era in which the game was developed) themes were interesting.


Wheels

Oh, for sure there were some interesting elements about the story. If I didn't dislike the gameplay so much I would probably enjoy exploring the setting some more! Certainly not a bad aspect of the game though.

Now the cons:

1-No real exploration: This was when the 'looks like you are walking around but there isn't really anywhere to go' tradition that was made so famous with FFX got its start.  To be honest, I deeply resent the introduction of that aspect of gameplay to the genre. 


Wheels

I don't mind it so much, but I remember it being particularly bad here. Thing is, many older games showed that the genre was clearly headed in that direction. Sure many had exploration, but it was no more than window dressing in the most linear of RPGs. Many people like a more straightforward approach, and I imagine this is actually one of the appeals of this game to some.

2- Contrast between cutscene and regular visuals: This is endemic to the genre in general and at the time the game was made in particular.  However, the degree to which it was displayed in LOD was quite ridiculous.


Wheels

Well, this is more of an issue with the graphic power behind the system in question. This gap has really only just closed with the current generation of consoles, where in-game cutscenes look just about as good and are the preferable method. I'll grant you the difference can be jarring, but I think not doing great looking cutscenes would have been even worse. Can you imagine all the big moments in Final Fantasy VII instead done with the blocky in-engine character models?

3- Story pacing issues:  This is something that is also endemic to the genre.  Irregular pacing tends to throw off the enjoyment of the game itself, particular in the beginning and near the end.


Wheels

Story pacing is something that seems to be really hard to get right in games, so I can't fault them all too much here.

4- Inventory: All jrpgs with limited inventories have this problem, but in LOD it was godawful

However, despite all my issues with it, I honestly thought it was a good game, if not a legendary favorite. 


Wheels

I understand that, I mean just because I hated the game and many others did doesn't necessarily mean it is a bad game. We all have different tastes! You seem to be more critical of it than many fans, which is nice. Recognizing and addressing the major faults in a game you like is a tough thing to do!

Now, on to the Wild Arms series.  I have a lot of issues with this series.  The original was a straight-up jrpg in the classic style with a weird combination of 'wild west' and medieval themes.  The second game had a sort-of anti-hero protagonist thing going with the demon-possession issue, which made it a lot of fun to play for those with a secret adoration for transformations and overpowered attacks.  However, it was at the third installation that I started losing interest.  To be blunt, the characters started getting less interesting and more childish rapidly, even as the actual quality of the narrative went up.  This continued into later installations of the series, until I stopped paying attention altogether after the fifth game.  In a way, this series is a perfect example of the path the jrpg genre has been taking in general, with a re-gearing toward younger and lighter audiences with cookie-cutter themes and characters grafted in from shounen anime and manga.  Probably the only part of these games I haven't thought was going down in quality was the music...


Wheels

Well, the fifth entry is actually the last entry in the series as of right now. So you haven't missed anything after it, because there hasn't been anything! Though I haven't played the other games as of yet, I can see what you mean. I loved the original game, and none of the follow ups were ever able to grab my attention. I'll still give them a try, but the only thing I know for sure is I'll enjoy the music. Even Sony seems to have stopped caring about the series sadly. There's still untapped potential in this franchise!

I also want to remark on the heavy increase in the number of mission-based dungeon-crawler/normal rpg hybrids that have taken over a good portion of the market.  To be blunt, I dislike games that exist just to give the player an excuse to kill time, and that is basically what this type is.  While an excessively short game is a problem in and of itself, games that produce dozens of worthless 'fetch this'  and 'kill that' missions as an excuse to extend the game's life without any extra story get old really fast. 

Sincerely,
Travis Lucius


Wheels

While I enjoy many of the games that follow such a pattern, like Monster Hunter, this is becoming a real issue. There's way too many RPGs that are just lame Monster Hunter clones and in the West we seem to have the same issue with Diablo clones. Look, developers, the originals are great for many different reasons, which you don't seem to get when trying to copy their success. Just because we love Diablo and Monster Hunter also does not mean we want every game to be like them! Stop this!
IN CLOSING

See you all next week!

-Wheels


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