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ASK WHEELS
This Week, A Winner is You, Again
October 27th, 2010

10/27 - 12:00PM EST

  Hey all, welcome to yet another week of Ask Wheels. Feeling a bit under the weather this week, so it will be a short column, but on the bright side, someone wins some Ys today! I've gotten a ton of e-mails (all of which I'll get into the column at some point), and I have to say thank you for all the great content. I hope to do another contest in the near future (possibly "win horrible games from the Wheels vault). Anyway, on to the letters!





The Letters
SaGa 3 Time

Dear Wheels,

Being the obsessive Kawazite that you are, I'm certain you're excited for the newly announced SaGa 3 remake for the DS. What do you know about the game? Are they going to Kawazu it up for the remake given how lacking it was in things that didn't make sense for the original, or will they leave the poor man out of it? Think there's a chance in hell it'll touch down anywhere outside of Japan? What is SaGa 3, anyway? What makes it different from the rest of the series?

Your devoted follower,

SaGaFan20 (not)


Wheels

Hmnn, this must be HITO. Anyway, let's talk about the original game first. The original version of SaGa 3 was essentially a generic JRPG with some SaGa flavor added onto it. You bought spells and equipped them on characters, and the meat system was there for good measure. It had a cool little time travel based story, but all in all, it just wasn't as unique or interested as the first two SaGa games. Thankfully, for the remake, it does sound like they're Kawazuing it up a bit, though I haven't seen enough footage to figure out what that is. I did see what appears to be a point to point travel system (like Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest) so it appears the old world map is gone. Other than that, we'll have to see. I think it has a shot of making it over here, being a nice looking 3D DS game, but I thought the same of SaGa 2 DS, so take that for what it's worth. I will say though, that it looks just as good as SaGa 2, and despite being my least favorite of the first three games, I'm pretty excited for it. We shall see how it turns out! To be honest though, I really want to see a new entry in the series next. These remakes are fine for Final Fantasy, since that gets main games as well, but we haven't seen a new original SaGa game since Unlimited Saga.


A Bunch of Random Topics

Alright, let's see here, another linking question... connect Front Mission to Clint Eastwood. 

Wheels

Easy, Front Mission is made by Square-Enix->Square-Enix (then Squaresoft) made the movie Final Fantasy: Spirits Within-> Spirits Within was distributed by Columbia Pictures-> Columbia Pictures is now owned by Sony-> Sony owns MGM-> Clint Eastwood was in Where Eagles Dare, distributed by MGM (OK that wasn't that easy).


To those who have not played it (like myself), is Suikoden 2 worth the eBay prices it commands?
Why haven't you jumped into Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation on the GBA? 


Wheels

Suikoden 2 is worth every penny. Everything from the music, to the quick battles, to the story, to the characters are just absolutely brilliant. Even though 2D sprites, though primitive, look fantastic. Suikoden 2 is one of those rare cases where the developer absolutely hits a game out of the ballpark. I mean, you can get it for around $100, and seeing how it's better than two of your average HD games, I don't think it's overly expensive. You will hear nothing but high praise from me.

Also, I'm not into giant robot stuff, hence why I haven't played SRT in any form, just not my thing!

Secret of Evermore: forgotten gem, or second-rate replacement for the game those outside Japan never got, Seiken Densetsu 3?  Discuss!


Wheels

Secret of Evermore is a fantastic game with good humor and atmosphere, that people hate only because they think it cost them Seiken Densetsu 3 in English. This is untrue, and completely unfair to Evermore. It's a fantastic game (which clearly runs on the same engine as Secret of Mana), and though it's a little rough around the edges at times (my cart had all kinds of issues), it was a lot of fun. What other game has a character making constant references to fake B-Movie sci-fi classics? It's hilarious, and I really loved that game. I hope it makes it to virtual console at some point, but it can be had for cheap online for those who still have their SNES.

Do you ever wonder what designers were thinking when coming up with the names of characters?  I still do, but in the grocery store yesterday I heard a woman call her son 'Justice,' which certainly started me wondering.  Now the character of Honesty in Shining Force III doesn't seem so outlandishly named (and because she doesn't appear in Scenario 1, you've never seen her, so there's a picture).


Wheels

Honestly (see what I did there?), I have no idea where they get these names, and I've seen tons of horrible names. I guess some people just aren't creative in that department? Even if you aren't that creative though, there's tons of resources out there to find interesting names, so there really isn't much excuse for terrible names. Just name everyone Mike and you'll be all good, am I right?

Will Tales of Graces, in some form, come to delight the Tales fans of North America?  Predict!


Wheels

I know that Namco essentially said it's not coming, but I am predicting that if the PS3 version is a decent success, they will revisit the idea of bringing Graces out overseas. It's a real shame the the Wii version was such a mess. I think that had Graces been solid on a technical level, it easily would have been localized based on the success of the Symphonia sequel. So fans, set yourselves to "wait and see, but don't hold out a large amount of hope" where Graces is concerned.

Why did Princess Crown never come out in English?


Wheels

Good question! I'm going to say that given the state of the Saturn in the US (meaning it bombed), I'm going to say it never found a publisher willing to bring it over. As far as why the PSP version didn't come over, I've heard they no longer have the source code for the game, and it's just an emulated version (readers: please correct me if I'm wrong). I'd imagine that would make it difficult to localize, and it's a shame!

Has Dragon Ball's ability to produce RPGs at last ebbed, with the lack of a sequel to Attack of the Saiyans?  Or will the franchise just keep spinning off ancillary product?
Enough for now. 
JuMeSyn


Wheels

I dunno, haven't we had enough Dragon Ball games? I mean this franchise why big when I was a kid, how is it still going? Are there even new shows? I dunno, I've yet to play any of the Dragon Ball RPGs, though the idea of one sounds really cool. Perhaps instead of churning out games they'll make a really good Dragon Ball RPG at some point?


An Episodic Response

Dear Wheels,

A form that seems to drift in and out of relevance over the last five years is the episodic RPG. The dot/hack series is perhaps most famous for it, but even in series for which sequels are common, they're rarely continuous. In some ways, Suikoden and Ys deliver on the concept of an episodic RPG series, but these are not really working towards a conclusion -- only pushing forward an ever-growing series of adventures. There's not much story arc, just plenty of story.

Wheels

I really like series like Ys and Suikoden, where games are connected in a shared world, often with reappearing characters, yet each game is still able to be a game on its own, without players needing to play previous entries. Suikoden maybe required playing the previous games more, but it still works as individual games while at the same time forming a unifying narrative (which may never get finished). Ys works as the ongoing adventures of a hero, and I think works better without a unifying storyline. Though I love series with unconnected games (Final Fantasy) the opposite form is woefully under-represented. People like full realized worlds, and like revisiting them often.

Do you think there's any future in the RPG genre for a truly episodic piece, like PAA:OTRSPOD (now defunct), or do you think the idea of making a truly epic creation out of small stories is something better left to the (once-dead) adventure game genre? After all, there are folks out there that will argue endlessly that RPGs live and die by their story; if they can't accomplish the episodic concept, is there really any story to be told? Or does it just expose the repetitive, seamy, grindy underbelly of the genre?

Byron

Wheels

I think that Dungeons and Dragons is actually where a great episodic RPG can be made in some form. Think of all the one-off adventures that have been made! Each of these could be an episode. I know Neverwinter Nights did this to an extent, but the official campaigns were always too big, and user created content was too difficult to find the best of. Episodic content can be all about the story, it just has to be on a smaller scale. I think someone will get it right at some point. I say adventure games are not the only genre that can do episodic!

Anyway thanks Byron, write in again!


Six Degrees of Seperation

Dear Wheels

Connect Method Man to Valkyria Chronicles

Love,

Beat



Wheels

What in the heck? All right, I'll bite. Method Man appears in the Def Jam series of video games->Def Jam is published by EA->EA publishes mobile phone versions of some Sega games->Sega published Valkyria Chronicles.
IN CLOSING

Time to the announce the winner, which is the writer of the letter I just answered, Byron! Don't thank me, thank Java's random number generator! Anyway, again thanks for all the great letters and keep them coming! I recommend those that didn't win check out Oath in Felghana regardless. Still many great RPGs coming out this year, Z.H.P. should be coming in the mail, and hopefully I'll have some thoughts on that and the PSP version of Oath in Felghana by then as well. Until then, let's start the hype train for Persona 2: Innocent Sin for PSP!

-Wheels



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What I can't wait for:

1. Ys: Oath in Felghana for PSP

2. Tales of Graces F

3. SaGa 3 DS

4. Disgaea 4

5. Z.H.P.


On my Playlist:

1. Oath in Felghana Soundtrack

2. Final Fantasy XIII Soundtrack

3. Etrian Odyssey 3 Arranged Soundtrack



Hot Topics:

1. Should Square-Enix take another shot at reviving the Mana series?

2. 4 Heroes of Light is fantastic, should this become a full-on sub series?

3. If a Final Fantasy XIII-2 is made, what changes to the battle system should be made?

4. Fallout 4-would you rather it be done by Bethesda, or Obsidian?

5. A trend I've been seeing in a lot of the RPGs I've been enjoying of late is not using MP, though it still has it's place in many games, not having to manage it can be quite enjoyable. Do you think this should show up in more RPGs, or should it only be used when the game is carefully designed not to use MP?


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