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An Oath in RPGamer
November 3rd, 2010

11/03 - 12:00PM EST

  Another week, more Ys. That's right, Oath in Felghana is out, which means I'll be playing through it again this week (I already played the PC version). Seeing as I now have a massive backlog, I need to get to answering your letters! I will get through all of them, and feel free to keep sending stuff in. Anyway, time to dive in.

The Letters
A Retroview of Retroviews

Hello Wheels,
I am wondering what your personal opinion on the practice of "Retroviews" are?
I kind of take issue with some of them (a lot of them) because they don't seem very objective. I had thought this before, but found the "Retroview" for Final Fantasy VII pretty skewed. Now, don't scream fanboy at me right away. I cut my teeth on Dragon Warrior and the like, and waited eagerly for FF2 to come out on the SNES. By the time FF7 rolled out, I was an RPG vet. But anyway..


I'm the same way, so we'll probably have some similar feelings about Final Fantasy VII, but anyway, on to the topic at hand!

I guess my beef is that the "reviews" seem to focus most on uncovering flaws in the game that weren't "evident" at the time of original release. The two notable ones in the FF7 retro are the interface and the graphics. Those could be fair claims, but the execution on the part of the reviewer is poor in my opinion. The reviewer essentially holds them up to today's standards as far as I can tell, which is kind of a fallacy. Why? In a lot of cases these retro games (or aspects of them) were the inspiration for new games and better polished features...but at the time were leading edge in some cases.


  Well here's the thing. There's a lot of different ways you can approach doing retro reviews, you could review it again, comparing it only to games from that particular era, you could review it as if it came out today, etc. I don't think it's necessarily unfair to review an old game by today's standards, you just have to take it with a grain of salt. It's more an exercise in "how well has this game aged?" than anything else.  You have to understand, it's not meant to diminish the impact the game had or anything. All things considered, I actually think Final Fantasy VII has aged better than most PS1 3D games, but that's just me.

The interface in FF7, for example, was GREAT compared to some of it's contemporaries (I'm looking at you, Suikoden 1+2). And, as far as the graphics go, of course they can't compare to today's...but were they inventive and cutting edge at the time (yes) and did they inspire improvement in graphics in the genre from other developers going forward? (yes)


What the heck was wrong with the interfaces of the Suikoden games? I remembering everything being very quick (like the battle system). At the same time, Final Fantasy VII's interface was also very good, but that's always been a strength of the series. I agree with you on the graphics front. What made Final Fantasy VII special is that it took graphics in an RPG to levels you didn't even see in PC RPGs and paved the way for cinematic RPGs, including western ones.  The game sold close to 10 million copies worldwide, something most games can't even dream of.  That said, going back and pointing out the graphical issues is not exactly a bad exercise. The game is readily available on PSN, and people want to know how it stacks up against today's games. Is that so unfair?

So I guess at the end of the day I don't find most author's "Retroviews" much of a worthwhile review in any sense, since they comment little on the mechanics of the game and how it was executed at the time, nor in looking back do they attempt to review the game against it's contemporaries. I think that is a crucial element in looking back at anything because of how easy peer comparison is in retrospect, versus the time of original release. Anyone can look back at an old game from a first gen system and say "This doesn't look as good as new games" and write that down as a "flaw"...but I maintain that is fallacious since these older games were the ground breaking inspiration for improvements in newer games in the first place. Can something that was top tier at the time be classified as a "flaw" once it is technologically outdated? Almost by definition a prototype will not be better than a finished it the first production model or the 10th incarnation. Does that mean the prototype (in retrospect) was flawed at the time? Probably not, especially if it spawned a host of sequels, competitors, and innovation.
What are your thoughts on this matter?


Well, to to take the other side, why compare it to games at the time, when you can just go look at reviews from that time? Isn't it more interesting, especially in light of the re-release of the game on PSN, to compare it to other games available today? I mean, I don't think it's fair to say Final Fantasy VII was a prototype, not when it is held by many as the shining standard of the series.

Regardless, I think you're being a little too tough. Retroreviews should always be taken with a grain of salt, as an interesting way to take a new look at older games.

Thanks for writing, and be sure to let me know any more thoughts you have on this subject!

Talking about Rune Factory

Hello Wheels,
I've tried playing Rune Factory and I like the Graphics and the gameplay though there was only playing as a boy (and I wish I can play as a girl ^^) and I was planning to play it but I haven't got the good time for this game , and the days flew by , then I've heard there will be another Rune Factory that you can play as a girl and I was waiting for this news for a long time, I was thinking if I should play the previous games or not ... I like to play as a girl so I can choose my Husband , and I don't mind to play as a boy but I don't think I can choose a girl because it looks weird though it is a game haha and it isn't interesting to me but I think I can do it if I should .... hmm is it better to wait for this game ?  and what's the different of each series ? and what's the most fun things in the game to you?
Thank you...


Well I've got good news and bad news. The good news is you can be a girl in Rune Factory 2, but I think it's some kind of generational system, so you might have to play as a guy first. I can't seem to find out whether or not this is the case in Rune Factory 3, or the one recently announced for Wii/PS3, so I'm going to guess it isn't. You should still give them a try though, as the mix of Harvest Moon's farming aspects and dungeon crawling is very good. It's a great series that I highly recommend you play more of!

Let me know what you think!

See, I'm not talking Tales, Arc Rise Fantasia isn't Tales!

Dear Wheels,
I came across something rather interesting about Arc Rise Fantasia, though for the life of me I can't find where I found it, so it's probably just a rumor or hearsay. Anyway, I heard that Namco-Bandai apparently sat on the license for a while before giving it to/letting XSEED. This seems rather odd and almost counter-intuitive, though. For starters, the announcement that XSEED would be localizing the game came out about four months after the game was first announced in Japan. That seems like an awfully short time to hang onto a license. Also, XSEED was the one with a temporary (sigh) partnership with the short-lived Marvelous USA. And really, why would Namco be interested in releasing an anime-esque RPG that's an entirely new IP when they're hesitant to release their own already established big-budget anime-esque RPG series?  Have you heard anything about this? Is this as implausible as I think it sounds?


That sounds pretty implausible to me. I mean, Marvelous published the game in Japan, how would they even get the license to begin with? Beyond that, why publish a game designed by ex-employees, that clearly takes a lot from the Tales series? Seems very unlikely to me. Let's just say it's completely implausible. On the other hand, they probably would have done a much better localization, so that would have been cool.

I was going to ask you to connect Phantasy Star to Luminous Arc 2, but then I recalled that Reiko Kodama was the producer of 7th Dragon. Seeing as she worked on the Phantasy Star games, including the first one and 7th Dragon was developed by Imageepoch, who also did the Luminous Arc games, the connection was too obvious. So instead I'll ask you to connect Legend of Mana to Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon. Surely that would be trickier. . .right?
-Strawberry Eggs


Well, this will actually be much easier than you think! tri-Crescendo developed Fragile Dreams->tri-Crescendo worked on sound for Valkyrie Profile for tri-Ace->Valkyrie Profile was published by Square-Enix (Squaresoft at the time)->Square-Enix published Legend of Mana

As always, write in again!

Tales of Pricing

Hey Wheels,

To be honest, I'm really only messaging in for a chance to win the Limited Edition Oath in Felghana.  I'm not a huge fan, but I'm a fan of the Ys series that's at least played all the US releases.  I bought the limited edition of Ys7 but it's sealed, and I'll be doing the same thing with Oath in Felghana, so I'm going to have to purchase a second copy in order to play the game.  So if I win I'm still going to have to purchase a copy.


Well, I'm glad to here this from someone who is not a huge Ys fan. XSEED has really done a great job with these limited editions so far. I hope they do the same with Ys I&II!

Seeing that you're a SaGa fan, thought I might as well make ask one SaGa question.  You may have answered this before, but what's your opinion of Unlimited Saga?  I for one like the game somewhat but if it didn't have the reel system then it had the potential of being one of the best SaGa games.  I didn't mind the board game type world map as it really added a unique style to the game(I thought I was going to hate it to be honest.) 


Unlimited Saga is an oddball in an oddball series, which is saying a lot given how off-beat the series can be. I think the problem a lot of people have with the game is that if you go in expecting a epic, cinematic, JRPG you will be severely disappointed. That said, if you judge the game based on it's merits alone, it fairs much better. I've talked about the game on occasion, and I think if you look at it as kind of a video game version of a tabletop RPGg and such, you can kind of "get" the game a little better. It really does harken back to the early days of RPGs, and in that respect it does very well. It's far from perfect, but given that you can get it for very cheap, I think most people will find a lot of value in it.

Just again, please, no one go in expecting a typical JRPG!

In the past few people have been recommending SaGa Frontier 2.  Here's another recommendation from me.  Other than two places you can go back to one time each(sidequests,) the game is purely linear based and easily the best storyline in the SaGa series.  Worth picking up and is a must own if you're a SaGa fan.  Most games this generation pale in comparison.


Another one! This is getting hard to ignore. As I've said, I have it, and I will get around to it at some point. Possibly once my playthrough of Suikoden II is complete.  The late PS1 era was kind of strange for me, as it was right near the end of my high school days. I missed out on a lot of great RPGs at that time (except for the Final Fantasies). So I will get it to, there can be no doubt of that.

Last.  With the announcement of the 3DS price, everyone seems to be praising it still.  It's a $300 "handheld" with 75% of the games announced being ports.  What are your opinions on that if it happens to release in the states at the same price?  Would you pick it up for $300 or would you wait until a price drop?  I would have picked it up on day one at $250 but at $300 we're paying the same cost at the two HD consoles for a handheld.  I'm sure at that price Nintendo isn't giving the fans a break and taking any sort of hit at all. 



Seeing as how I mainly play portables at this time, I would absolutely pay $300 for one, especially one that looks to be quite solid. I doubt it will retail in the US price for that much though. I would expect $250 here. Remember, the portables are huge in Japan, so they can sell there for much higher prices. I also hope they let companies sell some games for more than they did on DS here, so we can get some more Japanese games. There's no reason for $39.99 to be the max price for DS games.  That may sound kind of backwards, but if you  look back at some of my Q&As, you'll find that the low price tag actually prevented several DS JRPGs from being released here.

As far as lots of ports on the system? It's a launch lineup, this is expected.

Anyway, please write in again!

Oh the Times, they are a Kawazuing

Dear Wheels.

Pitch RPGs based around the following topics:

Hip Hop
Deli Sandwiches.
Stand Up Comics
The Sarbanes–Oxley Act.

Thanks a bunch,



What in the heck?

Well, I'll bite, here's a quick run-down of each idea:

Hip Hop-An RPG with Alpha Protocol style dialog to keep your raps going, and keep the player, well, laying down fat rhymes (is that what the kids say these days?). Heck you could probably even keep in the third-person shooter aspects of Alpha Protocol (that was a joke)!

Deli Sandwiches-Well here we have more of a simulation game than an RPG. I'm picturing a Harvest Moon style game, where you have to shop for the best ingredients, and experiment to find, as well as earn, new sandwich types. Now you're making me hungry.

Stand Up Comics-I think this could work just like the Hip Hop idea, though maybe with more of a Mass Effect style dialog system where your responses aren't timed (people need time to laugh). You could get all the biggest comics to provide material for the game, and have some kind of off-stage segments where you have to search for material. This could work.

The Sarbanes–Oxley Act.-So I actually had to do some research on this one, and I still have no clue what this Act does exactly. For those who don't know, it was passed after the Enron crisis, to try and prevent future disasters like that. So what I'm picturing here, is some kind of RPG where you're an adjuster or something, and you suspect several companies of some kind of fraud, and have to pour over the auditing documents to figure out what's going on. It will be epic!

Thanks again Beat, you're letters are always.....interesting?


That's it for this week! I'm working on the back log as fast as I can. I know many of you might be annoyed that it's taking so long to get to some of your letters, but I'll get to them as fast as I can! I really appreciate all the great comments you guys have been sending in, and it's your great letters that are keeping me doing this. Keep it up!


Current Backlog: OH GOD

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What I can't wait for:

1. Ys: I&II PSP

2. Tales of Graces F

3. SaGa 3 DS

4. Disgaea 4

5. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

On my Playlist:

1. Oath in Felghana Soundtrack

2. Final Fantasy XIII Soundtrack

3. Etrian Odyssey 3 Arranged Soundtrack

Hot Topics:

1. Will Z.H.P. convert more people to liking roguelikes?

2. The Final Fantasy series is ever changing and evovling, but do you think it's time for another main series game like Final Fantasy IX, that pays homage to the past?

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

4. Guys Square-Enix isn't in decline, and their newer games aren't bad. You need to seperate your dislike of the newer gmaes and objectively realize that most of them are quite good. You're giving Wheels a headache. Dragon Quest IX is amazing. SaGa 2 DS is amazing. There's plenty of good stuff to come from the company! OK I just defended you Square-Enix, now get FFXIV into shape!

5. What do you think Bioware will do to get the story of Mass Effect 1 into Mass Effect 2 PS3?

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