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Wheels Returns
December 1st, 2010

12/01 - 12:00PM EST

  I return! I hope you all had a good holiday (those in the US anyway). I also hope you enjoyed the surprise Q&A. I put out the offer to have some readers write some stuff for when I was away, and, well, Mr. Beat went the extra mile. Anyway, I was iffy about giving up some of your questions for the sake of comedy, so I'll be answering the same questions this week. Anyway, let's jump right into the swing of things.





The Letters
STOP! Mana Time.

Well, in the couple weeks since I last wrote, Persona 2 has indeed been confirmed for the PSP.  Well, Innocent Sin has.  And there should hopefully be no chance of us missing out on it   So I now turn my attention to the Mana series, and will address your Hot Topic #1.


Wheels

Well I don't want to say it's 100% confirmed, but given recent history things certainly look quite good. Hopefully we'll hear something soon. We've already got confirmation of Radiant Historia at least!

...unfortunately, it's not the kind of response fans of the series would want to hear.  I think Square-Enix should just give up on the series.  It's obvious by now that they're utterly failing at capturing what was awesome about Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3.  I even liked Legend of Mana, but even I know an utterly Guide Dang It game when I see it.  I don't even think another 2-D installment would save the series.  Besides, Square is trying to juggle too many other successful games to have room for any more Mana games.  They've got upcoming Kingdom Hearts games, overdue Final Fantasy games, there's a Dragon Quest X supposedly in development (and I wish they'd tell us more already), and even another Parasite Eve game.  They also do random games for no reason other than because they feel like it (like The World Ends With You, for instance), so I don't think they would have time to release another Mana game, let alone spare a development team to make it.


Wheels

  I disagree, to an extent. I certainly don't think they should put a lot of resources into it. However, why not make a new game in the series as a downloadable game, or as a 2D DS or PSP game even. I know they did something like that with Children of Mana, but that's not exactly what series fans are looking for. I'd say do a nice remake of Secret of Mana for DS/PSP or as a downloadable game and go from there.

I think when they came up with the World of Mana a few years ago, they were doing too much at once.  If they came up with a one time idea, had the urge to make a Mana game and actually had some good ideas behind it, then they should go ahead with it.  But as it is, it feels like they're trying to force it.

And to address the second Hot Topic, they also have the SaGa series. But after Unlimited SaGa, it doesn't seem like they have any interest in making new SaGa games.  Should they?  As I said about the Mana series, only if there are good ideas behind it.  Should they remake the older titles?  Well, it'll be convenient for people like me who missed out on them the first time around.  I shouldn't be selfish, though.  Like I said, they've already got their hands full with other stuff to worry about the whims of a guy like me.  (Although it's
probably coincidence, I will happily claim that Atlas does listen to me.  Hey Atlas, could you convince  Nintendo to let you translate Mother 3 for them, please?)


Wheels

I don't think the issue with World of Mana was doing too much at once, I think the issue was not making anything that played at all like the best games in the series. I don't understand how making a bunch of games from different genres was supposed to get people interested in the Mana series again. They captured the art style, and that's it. I think some fresh talent on the series could do it some good.

I'm not sure why they haven't done a new SaGa game in awhile. I don't think it means anything, probably just seemed like a good idea to remake SaGa 2 given the success of the Final Fantasy DS remakes, which then led to the remake of SaGa 3 after its success. Of course the game prior to that, Romancing SaGa for the PS2 was also a remake, but I don't think one necessarily led to the other. Anyway, I'm not sure what the future of the series will hold. SaGa 3 at least looks to be vastly changed from the original.

Mother 3? We got a great fan translation! Come on!

Garrison wrote in a couple weeks ago asking after Nier and wondering if it was any good.  Garrison: Nier is going to be weird, but it should be worth it if you like playing the video game version of that person who is always a constant downer (you know the kind I'm talking about).  And trust me, there'll be more downs than ups.  Especially if you play the New Game + mode.  But the game is amazing and the music is fantastic.  I even wrote a review of it for a blog I contribute to, and it was a very favorable review.

Also, Garrison, if you like games where you start out with a modest amount of HP, you could pick up the new Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes Of Light game.  I had to level up around 20 or so times in order to reach 100HP with any of my characters.  And yet you'll have more than enough HP to deal with most threats, as long as you're properly prepared.


Wheels

Yes, as I've found out, Nier is an amazing game. I don't understand why it got hated on so much.  Unique would be the best way to describe it. I don't even want to describe the game in too much depth. It's one of those "just play it" types of games. It's a shame the developer got split up.

As you readers know, I will vouch for 4 Heroes of Light till the cows come home.

Wheels, has there ever been a game in a series that you've played and you thought to yourself that it was a disappointing game, and you knew you would've liked it better if it hadn't been released under the banner of that series?  They wouldn't even need to change anything, just call it something else and it'd automatically be better.

Also, what's the quickest you ever finished a game?
-CW


Wheels

I can't think of an example like that, but certainly the opposite has happened to me. The charm of a great series can do a lot to spruce up a mediocre game. Anyway, write in again!


Square-Enix Love Fest

Wheels, what's up dude?

Wheels

Not much, I have escaped from my kidnapping.


So first off I have to say that Square Enix is not losing its touch.  I think that people are just getting older, and they look back on the games of their childhood from Squaresoft, and Enix, and they get warm hearts of the memories of a care free life playing videogames, eating cookies and drinking milk, whilst having no thoughts of paying bills, going to college, or finding a lover that's real.  That's what I think is going on.  They still put out great games, albeit there is a huge lack of them on main consoles because of the cost and it seems that handhelds are where the money is because those games are cheaper to make, and they can replicate more of an oldschool feel on handhelds.  And they put out more games in general, so naturally every single one of them isn't going to be gold.  Hey... did you ever play 3D World Runner


Wheels

3D World Runner? I don't think so.

That's certainly part of it. More to the point, we really only got the best Squaresoft games back in the day. So when we get a game that isn't absolute brilliance, we automatically think that the developer is on the decline. I can tell you that we missed out on a ton of Squaresoft (and Enix) games and many of them weren't very good, or at least not brilliant. We simply get a much larger percentage of their catalog now, and not all of it is going to be perfect. No large publisher puts out all quality titles, and we shouldn't hold Square-Enix to a different standard.

But I do have a problem lately.  Some events in my life have really pushed me forward into progressing my life.  My thoughts still turn to video games a lot of the time, and how I do love them so, the characters, the companies that make them, the stories, the art, the graphics.  But it seems that whenever I do have free time to play a game, I sit down and it seems like I'm wasting time, or wasting my life away playing video games.  There is no life progression playing video games, and my younger self would argue that video games produce the same mental benefits that books do, but now I just don't see that as the case because there are considerably more people that you can talk to and relate to about books, and I find that books increase mental dexterity and the spoken word much more than video games do.  But video games are the love of my life, and I hope to get over this, some how, some way.  Have you ever felt like this?  Any advice?  Because my backlog is only getting bigger.


Wheels

I feel that way too, just not playing video games. I feel that way watching TV. Feels like an absolute waste of my time, which is why I now often play portable games or surf the web while watching TV. Anyway, video games are as worthwhile a leisure activity as anything. You shouldn't feel guilty enjoying them. Just enjoy them. Especially if it's Kawazu related....

So I still am playing games, just not to the extent that I would like to. But I try to limit myself to one game at a time per console.  Right now I'm playing Robotrek on the SNES.  Ever played it?  It's a decent game, not the greatest I know, but I love the town theme song in that game, it is just so...classic!  Plus it's Quintet, I heart Quintet!  And it's something moderately fresh. 

On my PS3 I'm playing Breath of Fire IV.  Been in my backlog for sometime now, and I'm about 32:00 hours into it.  I think the first part of the game is a little better than the second half so far, but I absolutely love the graphical style in that game and the camera angles they use for some of the scenes.  The sprites are really well done for the most part, and the music is pretty good as well.  But still, I think I have enjoyed Breath of Fire  III a little better.  I think as far as that series goes, the first and the third are my favorites.  The first one just has so many classic elements to it, and I love having 3 characters follow your leader around, totally old school.  I think that may be a key reason why I like Final Fantasy VIII so much...well, there is more to it than that, but that's for another letter. So what do you think of BoF?  I have always liked the series, seems highly anime, and artistic, plus I love the classic use of dragons in an RPG. 



Wheels

Never played Robotrek, but I did enjoy the Quintet classics Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia.

Breath of Fire IV is the only game in that series I haven't played yet. The third game is a lot of fun though, good classic style console RPG. I think the best game in the series has to be Dragon Quarter. Just a totally unique and challenging game. Good series, but I don't think it's a huge loss not to have it around at the moment.

My Wii I'm playing through Little King's Story.  I haven't Wii'd much lately, and I haven't Wii'd standing up for a long time!  :)  But it really does demand more time from me, since I still think that, as far as gameplay goes, the Wii offers the most.  I wanna check out Arc Rise Fantasia and Fragile.  Those two games have definitely caught my eye.  Also A Boy and His Blob!!  Seriously!  And so many more, the list goes on and on. Nintendo really is where it's at for oldschool gamers still I think.  The Wii gets a lot of flack from new schoolers and old schoolers alike, but this oldschooler thinks the Wii is more hardcore than anything else out there, aside from the DS, but I'm just not much of a handholder.  Little King's Story is great though.  Have you played any of it?  I can't remember correctly, but I recall you saying you hadn't.  And I definitely recommend it to any RPGamer out there.


Wheels

I have played it, and it just wasn't my thing. I can't really get into RTS type games at all.

The Wii certainly has a lot of classic games, but let's not put Arc Rise Fantasia in that list please! As far as RPG goes, I really hope Nintendo will bring over the two best looking RPGs on the system, Last Story and Xenoblade. Given the success the Tales of Symphonia had on the Wii, I'm really surprised more RPGs haven't shown up for the system.

Dude I have such a backlog, I blame college and the gym.  But seriously, I've got Persona 4, Rogue Galaxy, Bahamut Lagoon, Suikoden V, FES, Front Mission 3, 4, Valkyrie Profile 2, Resonance of Fate, Star Ocean 3, Sakura Wars.  I'm seriously looking forward to retirement.  Thanks for your help on the question front.  Also, when people just use letters for the game they are referring to like LoZ:OoT.  I think they should state the actual game's title in the letter before the just use letters.  The last column someone just said PRAA:NOTSPRD or something like that, and I had no idea what game he or she was referencing.  Just a thought. 

WarmCoat


Wheels

That's a nice backlog right there. I'd move Resonance of Fate way up that list. Take Star Ocean 3 off there though, please. That game made me hate Tri-Ace for about 5 years, until Resonance of Fate healed the wound. It's just such a goofy and strange game with some brilliant battle mechanics. It is without a doubt, the game that has surprised me the most this year.

Game abreviations should always come after saying the full title of the game, which I probably haven't even done. I shall try to fill in full game titles when posting letters when I need to!

Keep gaming! Look forward to hearing from  you again.


90s Flashback

Hello Wheels,

I am an RPG gamer since 1991's FFIV, and whenever you ask me of a stereotypical hero I think of Cecil or Lunar's Alex. That said, I am very interested in traditional RPGs. Sadly, the last RPG that I really enjoyed was Dragon Quest VIII. What is you take on this game?

Wheels

I love Dragon Quest VIII, but that game just got too slow for me at times. I didn't like the character progression system that much either.  Dragon Quest IX on the other hand, gets just about everything right, from pace, to character development, etc. Both great games, but I'll stick to the sequel.

My favorite games are Xenogears, FFVI, and DQVIII, and I do not think that will change very soon. I did not even like DQIX. Why can't RPGs be like they were in the 90's? I love menu based combat, controlling every member of your party, every character having a background story, great music, etc. Exactly the things that made Chrono Trigger shine.

Wheels

How is Dragon Quest IX not like games from the 90s? You've really lost me there. There's plenty of games like that though, such as 4 Heroes of Light, Etrian Odyssey (yes there were great first person dungeon crawls in the 90s), Nostalgia, etc. Most of these types of games are on portables, but still, they're there.

What is so difficult about making FFTactics 2? (I consider the portable ones a joke) Or continuing the Breath of Fire series? Legend of Dragoon 2? At the very least, a Xenogears remake! Those were the games I really enjoyed. Do you recommend a game for the current generation of consoles that could be a successor?

Wheels

As far as Final Fantasy Tactics goes, they already made two sequels, I'm guessing you didn't care for those though. Regardless, sequels were made, and I would wager more will come after the success of War of the Lions on PSP.

The Breath of Fire series stopped selling, so I don't see why Capcom would make any attempt to revive the series. Dragon Quarter was a brilliant game, and no one bought it. So yes, it is that difficult to make a new Breath of Fire game sadly.

Wasn't Legend of Dragoon terrible? Anyway, I don't think it ever did enough sales wise to warrant a sequel. Maybe a PSN re-release.

I hated Xenogears, but I hope you get your remake at some point! You already got spiritual successors to that in the form of the Xenosaga series though.

I recommend the Golden Sun games, along with Nostalgia, I think these will  scratch that itch for some classically styled RPGs!

Anyway, take care and great column you have here, keep it up!

Rocker-otaku-gamer

Wheels

Thanks!  Look forward to hearing from you again!

IN CLOSING

That is all for this week. Little shorter column this week to give me a chance to get back in the swing of things. I played a lot of Resonance of Fate during the holiday break, and would love to hear your thoughts about the game. Also, since the year is nearing it's end, let's start talking RPG of the year!

See you all next week!

-Wheels

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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. Resonance of Fate Soundtrack

2. FOOTBALL

3. Nier's disturbing soundtrack



Hot Topics:

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

2. Who should make the next Fallout game?

3. JRPGs currently are more creative than WRPGs. Discuss.

4. What do you think the difference between Dragon Age 2 on PC and Consoles will be?

5. Does 4 Heroes of Light deserve a sequal (hint: the answer is yes)?


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