Send a Q&A Letter Send Me a Tweet
The Archives

Less Than Q&A
November 2nd, 2012

11/02- 12:00PM EST

Welcome! It's been a crazy week with the hurricane hitting the east coast. I hope any of you who were in its path made it out OK! Some places still aren't in great shape, so stay out there folks. Hopefully this silly little column can provide some brief entertainment. No one sent me contest ideas by the way! So fine, the next four people to send me letters of at least 500 words in length will get a steam code for Penny Arcade Adventures 3. How about that?

On to the letters!

The Letters
Hot Hot Topics

‏Hi Wheels!

For your hot topics:

1) What is the best Final Fantasy spinoff? Easy answer is Final Fantasy Tactics. I don't know what more needs to be said about it, and it's definitely on the short list. I've been hearing good to great things about FF: The 4 Heroes of Light, which I haven't played, so that would win my vote for curiosity. And I guess my actual vote would have to go to FF Fables: Chocobo Tales. I don't care how ridiculous that sounds. I realized I've played it 3 (!!) times? And I hate card battle games. I never got into the Pokemon style of collecting things just for the sake of collecting them, which I (possibly unjustly) lump together with card games, but this one is just fun. It has classic music, classic elemental tropes, and tons of callbacks to the main series. I love it.

Recent addition may also be FF Dimensions, which I've been surprisingly happy with.


I figured for most people the answer likely is Final Fantasy Tactics. That's understandable given the game is better than many of the proper entries in the main series. I was hoping to get some interesting answers as well and you have provided this! I didn't really think of Four Heroes of Light since despite the name it doesn't feel much like anything directly related to Final Fantasy. I love the game despite its faults and annoyingly difficult final boss.

Chocobo Tales is a unique response. I haven't played it but it seemed to be ignored by the majority of Final Fantasy fans. Shame on us I guess? It sounds like a fun little game. I may have to track down a copy at some point.

Probably a bit too early to consider FF Dimensions for this list! It's only recently come out and I'm sure it will take a few playthroughs (if it's enjoyable) to determine if it belongs in consideration here. That said, I have seen many enjoying it despite its graphical issues! I downloaded the free portion but haven't gotten a chance to try it yet.

3) My favorite Dragon Quest is a tie between III and IV. I love the world of III and the use of the job system. I found the job system of later 2D entries to be a bit inhibitory based on how learning abilities works (*cough* DQ VII), whereas III didn't seem to have that problem. And the pacing was far and away better than either DQ or DQ II. The world felt cohesive for the first time. Comparatively, I loved exploring the world of IV bit by bit, and its use of the chapters is still one of the strongest story mechanisms in the series. I couldn't get into V and VI as much for whatever reason.


Another interesting choice! Well, Dragon Quest III is anyway. IV would be a more standard choice. The early NES titles don't hold up as well these days but I guess III would surely be the best of the first three given the cool job system. I'm surprised you couldn't get into V! V is just all around an amazing title and seems to be the general fan favorite. I can understand your issues with VI, but I still enjoy that odd duck in the series.

That being said, I'd probably go with VIII as being the best. For a series that had stayed 2D for so long, it made the jump absolutely seamlessly. And still managed to get the feel of exploration that, to me, is the major differentiation between it and Final Fantasy. It also has some great characters and story. I haven't played IX though - thoughts? I'm not a huge fan of 30 'save the town' scenarios followed by one so-called main villain.


Well, VII was technically 3D for exploration and such it just used 2D sprites for characters. Plus older Dragon Quest games had been updated on PS1 with a look similar to VII. This quibbling aside, VIII was the first that took full advantage of 3D and as such it seemed like the most popular entry outside of Japan. It successfully captured that spirit of old 16-bit RPGs with all the bells and whistles of more recent games. I don't know if I'd agree it is the best as I didn't like the character advancement system.

was an amazing game with an insane amount of content for a small little DS cart. The combat and class systems were a blast and there was seemingly an endless amount of post game stuff to do, not even getting into multiplayer. Calling the story thirty 'save the town' scenarios is a bit of an exaggeration. There's a lot of very personal and heartbreaking stories, most of which don't actually involve saving the town itself. You really should play it!

5) Shadow Hearts HD collection. I don't know that anyone cares about the spinoff, From the New World, other than being fun, and Koudelka would be a stretch to include since it wasn't a PS2 game, but even just the first two mainline games would be great to see get a brush up. They also didn't get the exposure they deserved, and any extra recognition they could get from a company willing to push it would be great.


I must admit that I have a very selfish desire for them to make an HD collection, because I never played any of them! With the price they go for now I'd really love an easier way just to give them a try. It's a lot of money to invest in a series I might not even like. Konami needs to make a collection of the PS2 Suikoden games as well but that seems even less likely.

Sidebar to the sequal-lag conversation: I see this series as an example that was harmed by using sequels without notable character or plot connections to the previous works. A huge part of why Covenant was so effective for me was that I was already invested in Yuri and what had happened to him, Alice, Kato etc. It helps that they also pulled me in with the other new characters, but when I played From the New World, I just didn't care as much without these connections. Are there any other sequels you think would have been better served with more direct correlation? I'm sure Chrono will make a lot of people's lists, but I'd also put Lufia as an example that worked because of the meaningful connections. That was a series where the sequel felt absolutely necessary (the first one, anyway).


Chrono would be on a lot of people's lists but in all honesty I think it would have been far better if it had no connection or only vague connections to Chrono Trigger. The way it connects to the first game doesn't work quite well and though it may have impacted sales, a less direct connection may have helped the quality of the story. I can't speak much on the Shadow Hearts sequels, but would just compare them to Konami's own Suikoden where a continued universe as the games went along really kept fans hooked. Maybe something similar would have helped keep fans interested in Shadow Hearts

Lufia 1&2 are a perfect example of how to do a good direct sequel from what I've heard.

Other cold topics that were going through my head:

1) I'm out of power from the hurricane. I'm playing Chrono Trigger on my DS, Valkyrie Profile on my PSP, and FF Dimensions on my iPhone after charging. What would be your preferred portable blackout games?


Sorry to hear you're without power! Hopefully you get that back soon. I'd start with Dragon Quest IX on DS as that on its own could eat up a ton of time. On PSP, I would highly recommend Growlanser: Wayfayer of Time as a great time sync. On iPhone, there's always Penny Arcade Adventures 3 and Cthulhu Saves the World for some solid entertainment. Of course your current selections are great!

2) If you could cast one RPG spell in real life, what would it be?


Oh, that would have to be a spell letting me return to previously visited towns instantly. Just imagine all the gas I would save! OK, that isn't true because I would still need to fly to places I haven't been to yet.

3) If you had to be stuck in one RPG world, which would it be? Or maybe I should say, if you had to live in one RPG world when it wasn't busy being destroyed, which would it be?




Ohm that would have to be the world of the most recent Atelier games since it isn't constantly under the threat of utter devastation! Or I could always say the world of Atelier Annie since that takes place on an island resort. Anyway, basically any of these worlds from less violent RPGs would serve me just fine!

Atelier Gaijin

Hey Wheels, long time no write!  Almost every Friday, I think to myself: "Man, I should have written in to Q&A this week.  I'll do that next time."  And then the next Friday always arrives too soon after that.  Have you ever had that feeling?


All the time! There's simply too many things to do and too much to write and our poor brains struggle to keep up with it. We need some way to slow down time or some way to augment our brains with computers or something.

Oh, by the way, I've been waiting for a villain concept letter from you for a bit over six months now.  Moment of truth time.  Who's the baddest dude you can come up with, hm?


Oh no, I thought I had actually sent that in! I came up with what I thought was a cool idea but I guess I never got around to actually writing in about it. Essentially my idea was for a master manipulator villain. In the game this character would star in, the heroes would be solving many seemingly unrelated world problems and threats. Clever players would slowly start to realize that all these seemingly unrelated events seem to be connected in some way. Said game could just end with the player never finding out the truth, but those who notice the pattern could then veer off the "main" path of the game and start investigating these strange connections. Think of the villain The Calculator from the Batman series only far more secretive and harder to track down. Who is this person, and what is their ultimate end game? This would be the ultimate question the players would have to track down. Slowly things wold start to come into focus. That Orc rebellion started when a supposedly rogue knight captain kidnapped the Orc chieftain was actually started because the captain received a secret order from the king, except the order was a forgery. The war of independence by a small nation was started by a mysterious orator who spurred on the rebellions and has since disappeared. Writing by this orator matches that of the forged order for the knight. These clues would go and on until the players finally realize that the one behind it all is their patron Wizard friend, keeping the best heroes in the world distracted as he collects the pieces of a lost tome that will allow him to gain ultimate power. Or is that just another distraction created by the true manipulator?

Now, to address the fourth item on your hot topics list: "Will Gust's game output be hurt by the purchase by Tecmo-Koei?"  In my opinion, probably no.  In my personal experience, definitely no.  Atelier Ayesha came out after Gust's acquisition, and it is the best Atelier game I've ever played in terms of story, plotting, exploration, and combat. While I'll have to wait for the next Atelier title to come out before I can say anything with 100% certainty, I'm confident it'll be a game I'll like.

See ya!


Well I trust your judgement so I'm very glad to hear you say that. When the acquisition seemed to be all about getting Gust's social division I was scared that this would take resources away from the main series. I guess this was a bit silly given that the series still seems popular in Japan and a lot of their social stuff is based off of Atelier. Now the only question is whether the acquisition will effect localization of the titles at all. Ayesha seems certain to come here, but I really want the Vita version of Totori! We shall see what happens. I am well overdue at writing in to your column. I'll get on that as soon as possible!

See you all next week!

Possibly with more drunken madness...


Send a Letter!

Most Recent

October 5th: Wheels
October 12th: Wheels
October 19th: Wheels
October 26th: Wheels


About the Host

Quote Archives

What I can't wait for:

1. Persona 4 Vita

2. Ragnarok Tactics

3. Halo 4

4. Atelier Totori Vita

5. Paper Mario 3D

On my Playlist:

1. Reel Big Fish

2. Green Day

3. Less Than Jake

Hot Topics:

1. What is the best Final Fantasy spin-off?

2. Did Sega blow it in not taking a risk and trying Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3 again?

3. What is the best Dragon Quest?

4. Will Gust's game output be hurt by the purchase by Tecmo-Koei?

5. What PS2 RPG series other than Final Fantasy would you like to see an HD collection of?
© 1998-2017 RPGamer All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy