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ASK WHEELS
A Q&A Thanksgiving
November 17th, 2010

11/17 - 12:00PM EST

  So I decided to give Resonance of Fate a try. Why? I guess that after enjoying both Nier and Alpha Protocol, I figured I could three for three with under appreciated RPGs this year. The result? Undetermined, but boy is this an interesting game. Just as interesting as your letters!

Like what I did there?





The Letters
A New Version of My Nickname?

Hey Wheels-o-fun
 
Not getting tired of the Tales yet….but worried your kinda showing a tad bit of over fascination there my friend.
Sorta like when Googleshng would always rave about Koudelka & Shadow Hearts 1&2….waayyyy back in the 90’s (yeap….been around reading this site that long dude).
Man, he would ramble about that game all the time, or at least brought it up at least once in the column every week. Compared everything to it. Shadow Hearts this…..Koudelka that……not compared to the battle system of Shadow Hearts 2…..blah blah blah. Bordered on full blown fanboyisum I tell ya.


Wheels

Wheels-o-fun? Interesting. I kind of like that. Anyway, to be fair, a lot of people have actually sent in stuff about the Tales series for me to answer. Perhaps this is to be expected after a huge rant about the fans though. I also then started use it in the title of the column, and letter titles and such, so point taken. I will not talk about Tales unless someone asks me about it. At least until Tales of Graces F is out. Also I've never played a Shadow Hearts game. should I?

Anyway, suppose I should ask a question, so here goes.
Whatever happened to Blood of Bahamut? Did that just fall off the face of the earth or what?


Wheels

  To be honest, I had completely forgotten about that game! Doesn't seem to have done much in Japan. Sold a cool 66,000 in its first month, which doesn't seem too great. It got a 31/40 from Famitsu, but that's not a real indicator. I haven't heard any buzz from importers or anything either, so I get the feeling there just wasn't anything special about the game. I'm tempted to import it just to see what the heck the game was. Shame it had nothing to do with Bahamut Lagoon!

Thanks for bringing back the column again too. Glad to see it’s working out for you. And don’t worry, you haven’t slid into that “over fascination” category, yet.
HA!
 
Take it easy.
Starwarrior


Wheels

Thanks! I really enjoy writing this, so I'm glad people actually enjoy reading my ramblings! Look forward to hearing from you again.



Wheels Goes on a Mystic Quest

Yo Wheels!

Having glanced over the surprisingly busy message thread concerning Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, I have to ask what your take on the game is.  It was made by the same dev team that did Final Fantasy Legend 3, after all, the SaGa title that was missing the Kawazu himself. Did you like it?  Hate it? Stay ambivalent about it?

Wheels

I ended up liking it a lot. This was despite the game being "that game my parents rented for me when I wanted Final Fantasy II". I mean, not as much as a normal Final Fantasy entry, but in those earlier days of the SNES it was a nice distraction to have. Had I been the one buying it would I have paid full price for it? Probably not, but it's still a fun little game.


Personally, I liked it well enough when I first played it, fifteen years ago.  Unfortunately, I also rented Final Fantasy 2 (sic) that same week, and Mystic Quest just didn't hold up against that.  Also, my little brother (second grader that he was at the time) finished MQ in a day and a half, which didn't do much for my opinion. 


Wheels

Well sure, it was pretty easy, especially given that you could heal the last boss to death! Again there's no way it can compare to the more complex Final Fantasy games, but eventually I was fine with this.

As I matured as a gamer and played a lot more games, MQ's simplicity just became more and more apparent.  When indie game titles can prove more original and challenging than a professionally made SNES title, that's a bad sign.


Wheels

I don't think it's necessarily a bad sign. I think the issue is with what they wanted to do with Mystic Quest to begin with. I don't think that you can get more people to play complex deep RPGs by making a shallow, not complex RPG as some sort of gateway into the genre. How is a simple RPG going to get people to play more complex games? If you want people to play complex RPGs, make them more accessible. Making a totally unrelated simple RPG isn't going to help. Like I said, the game works as a fun distraction, probably thanks to a good development team, but it didn't do what they wanted it to at all.

The thing that really turned me off the game forever, though, was when I came to Japan and saw a copy in the used games store.  The Japanese title?  Final Fantasy USA: Mystic Quest.  Seeing that, I just felt insulted.


Wheels

You should feel insulted! I mean, look at all the complex and dense computer RPGs that came out of the west, many of which directly inspired the creation of JRPGs. It's not like people in the US had never played complex games before. I guess we showed them by buying more copies of Final Fantasy II? Uh oh, maybe it did do what they intended.....

So, challenge: In six steps or less, connect Mystic Quest to that
paragon of indie RPG worksmanship, Charles Barkley Shut Up and Jam
Gaiden.

Your fellow columnist,
Gaijin


Wheels

Oh boy, well Charles Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is a play on the name of the game Charles Barkley Shut Up and Jam->Charles Barkley Shut Up and Jam was published by Accolade->Accolade was eventually purchased by Infogrames->Infogrames worked with Square Europe to distribute some new and back catalog Squaresoft games in Europe such as Final Fantasy 9->Squaresoft published Mystic Quest. There you go, I did the connection backwards, but still.

Look forward to hearing from you again!


Coming Soon: Q&A Reader Rewards

Dear Wheels,

How do you feel about incentive programs such as Square Enix's Members club and Club Nintendo that reward your for purchasing their products? I've been attempting lately to collect the Square Enix games that qualify for points and after doing some rough calculations...purchasing the remainder of the games I do not have will cost me $400 or more to ensure that the codes have not already been used. For that price, I could probably eBay whatever prize they give out. Would you want to see other companies use this? NIS? Atlus, perhaps? Or do you prefer not having them because of the obscene amount of money that goes in to getting a trinket or two?

Wheels

I think they're a great idea, but only in theory. Offering rewards to the loyal fans of your games is a great marketing thing to do, but when you have to buy insane amounts of games to be worth it at all, then it can get to annoy fans as much as get them to buy more of your product. Why not just do more lesser prizes, like soundtracks and the like, so more fans actually get something, and the price to actually win something isn't insane. I'd be fine if other companies did something like this, but I would not be happy if they went the route of Square-Enix/Nintendo.

ALSO.

Limited editions. How do you feel about these? I know, in general, the NIS and Atlus limited editions really do tend to be limited, especially compared to something like a Call of Duty or Madden limited edition. Do you splurge for the extras? Do you feel they're worth it? What are the deciding factors? I've run out of shelf space thanks to limited editions. Where is my Ys: Oath in Felghana going to go now?

Sincerely and begrudgindly,

Hito
Wheels

I really like limited editions when they are done right, and the sad part is big market games like Halo, and Call of Duty, and the like seem to have the worst limited editions. The limited edition of Halo 3 was just terrible, and many people ended up with scratched game discs because of the poor design. Bioshock with the Big Daddy figure I think has been the lone exception.

They really have no excuse too, when you look at the quality special editions that Atlus, XSEED, and NIS put out. They've included everything from artbooks, to soundtracks, to replicas of a hat a character from Persona 3 wears. I really can't say enough about the quality work they do.

So long story short, fewer awful limited editions like Halo 3 and more like Ys Seven please.

Anyway, good to hear from you Hito, write in again!


A Marathon of Content

Ah, senor Wheels.  How does life treat you at the time of your response?
Time to bring some series you haven't talked about into the conversation.  What's your stance on Earthbound?


Wheels

Besides for grad classes stealing my time, life is good! Anyway, Earthbound I can talk a bit about, not so much the game preceding it, or the game that comes after, but Earthbound I can talk about. It fits squarely into the classics of the SNES era for me. The unique setting, groovy music, and fantastic battle system all fit together in the perfect package. If you're reading this and haven't experienced Earthbound, go do so now!

As far as the other games in the series, Mother 1 seems kind of boring, and Mother 3 looks like a masterpiece. Shame on Nintendo for not bringing the latter over here.

How about your thoughts on the original Phantasy Star games?


Wheels

You know I'm an old-school Sega fan. Phantasy Star IV is one of my all time favorite 16-bit games. That series was just well ahead of its time in pretty much every installment. I mean we haven't even had a high-quality Sci-Fi JRPG since Phantasy Star IV. The series was just something special, and it is sorely missed. I understand that the multi-player games are much more popular, but if you look at the sales for games like Star Ocean and of course Mass Effect, I think there is a wide open market for another great Sci-Fi RPG. Make it so Sega!

My feelings on Sword of Vermilion have been amply expressed, but what about you?  Does this tortuous and unpleasant experience leave you feeling soiled, indifferent, inexplicably happy, or have you simply never experienced its enormous faults for yourself?


Wheels

Thankfully my experience with Sword of Vermilion is limited to trying it on the Genesis collection of PS3, realizing it wasn't good, and leaving it at that.

I don't think anyone has brought up Fire Emblem to you at length, so I encourage you to elaborate on the subject.


Wheels

I don't think anyone has, which is a shame. Fire Emblem is a series I became interested in due to its similarities to the Shining Force games (which is ironic, because Sega probably originally planned Shining Force as an answer to Nintendo's Fire Emblem series), and it did not disappoint. Sure, the series isn't that similar to Shining Force, but it's close enough, and I really enjoy that tactics involved in battle, especially with killed teammates not being able to be brought back. It can be annoying, but it really does add whole new layer to combat. You can't just come up with a plan to win a given battle, you need to win and not lose your whole team. It's a great series and it's nice to see Nintendo continues to support it, unlike a certain other company and their Tactical RPG series....

Should I make a beeline to Shining in the Darkness, or wait awhile?


Wheels

Wait awhile. It's nothing special. A fun little distraction for sure, but don't go out of your way to play it. Do, however, go out of your way to play Shining the Holy Ark.

He who is remembered well by Q&A veterans, Matt, once said that Young Merlin was awful.  Can you speak on the subject?


Wheels

I've never played Young Merlin, somehow I managed to never play that as a kid. I think my SNES is better for it. More to the point, can I just say I have no idea how Matt did Q&A EVERY DAY.

Oh, and you can look forward to me continuing to retroview things whenever able.  I've been doing it for years, the results just weren't read by many people, making Omegabyte's decision to shut PoV down a good one. 


Wheels

Excellent, I always enjoy a good discussion of old games. Is this a sign that I'm turning into an old man? Should I start telling kids to get off my lawn?

How come the Samurai Shodown RPG never got a translation?  SNK fighting games don't necessarily scream 'RPG,' but that one seemed quite promising.


Wheels

You're right on that, but a Samurai RPG is just too fantastic an idea. Do you have any idea if it was any good? Did it make it on anything other than the Neo Geo? I'm guessing the answer to one of the last two questions is no, which is about the only explanation I can give as to why it was never translated. Perhaps we'll see a fan patch some day? Or even another attempt at that concept? I'd play it!

What's the worst localization you've ever experienced?


Wheels

This is a tough question, since there's so many factors that go into a bad localization. I mean, there could be bad grammar, boring translations, or just flat out mistranslated text. I'm just going to say Ys 3 on SNES for now. I don't think it had any errors in grammar, but the translation is just the most awful and lifeless script I think I've seen in a video game.

Another linking question: connect Sigma Star Saga to Burt Lancaster (boy is THIS gonna be fun!)


Wheels

Oh man, this is going to be hard.....OR NOT! Sigma Star Saga was developed by WayForward->WayFord developed Batman: The Brave and the Bold for Wii-> Batman is a D.C. property->Warner Brothers owns D.C.->Warner Brothers distributed the movie The Flame and the Arrow->Burt Lancaster was in that movie

After listening to the Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation backtrack (which you have done, of course), has your stance on trying a game changed any?


Wheels

A little bit, but I'm still not all that interested. I'm sure a bit more prodding me is all that's needed to get me to try it!

People apparently like Wild Arms.  Is this a sign that I need to investigate the series?


Wheels

It is. Don't expect the most original series ever, despite the unique setting. The games are consistently fun though, and the original can be had on PSN for very cheap. That seems like your best route, try the first game in the series, and that should give you an idea as to if the series is for you. Also it has one of the best opening themes ever (even though it's a rip-off of a theme from a western movie). Not something to go out of your way to check out, but fun enough to at least give the first game a try.

Where's my Grandia IV, dangit?
JuMeSyn


Wheels

Honestly, I don't have a really good answer for this. It's not like Gamearts is really working on much else. The latest Lunar remake was great and all, but they really need to try and make a new game at some point. Maybe they're making too much money doing jobs like that Ninja Turtles fighting game. If it makes you feel better, I really think we'll see both a new Lunar and a Grandia IV at some point in the future.

Looking forward to more great questions!

IN CLOSING

That's it for this week! Given the holiday next week, I'm going to be taking a week off. I wanted to run a cool column while I'm away, but I'm going to save that for a better time. Given it's Thanksgiving time, I just want to thank you all again for all the great letters you've sent in. Especially the SaGa questions. I can assure you guys I've got more contests coming too. In fact here's one right now. The first person that sends me in a quick history of Canadian Thanksgiving will win a gently used (I got it from blockbuster back in the day!) copy of Final Fantasy X. I'm sure one of you hasn't played it yet!

See you all in two weeks!

-Wheels

Current Backlog: Getting slim, write in!

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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. Cthulhu Saves the World


On my Playlist:

1. Back to the Future Soundtrack

2. Final Fantasy XIII Soundtrack

3. Nier's disturbing soundtrack



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