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ASK Z-FORCE
Politically Incorrect Since 1985! August 31, 2005

Steven "Z-Force" Zimmerman - 10:37 PM EST

WELCOME, once again, to the best column of the week. I was going to try really hard not to piss anyone off this time, but after deleting my third midget joke in a row, I gave up. It is far too much work to be nice, and not nearly as fun. Hopefully I will avoid any major controversy this week, which usually results in the locking of forum threads, because you guys don't want my ego to get any bigger. I'm already better than all of you, but that doesn't mean I need to rub it in your face every week.




L E T T E R S
Its my first time, too ::giggle::


Hello random Q&A person,

This is my first time sending a letter so be gentle :p Anyway, I was curious if you(or anyone at rpgamer) would have any news on Front Mission Online coming to the US.

I know it was released in Japan back in May or so but I haven't seen any news after that. The reason I ask is, I just quit playing FFXI after almost 2 years and just started on WoW. I enjoyed both games, but I am a little burned out on the whole fanasty/mid-evil type settings.

The premise of FMO seems like it would really fun and different and was looking forward to a release stateside. Any info would be great.

Travis


Z-FORCE


I’ll never understand what is so appealing about MMORPGs. How can anyone enjoy something with an acronym that long? You spend hours and hours leveling up your character, just to get your butt kicked by someone who is cheating or hacking, until the day comes when you get bored of all the pointless leveling and put it away. I can’t understand playing a game that doesn’t have an ending. There has to be some sort of goal for me to work towards, else I won’t work. That’s why I’m an English major and working hard towards my goal of unemployment and never being sober again.

But to answer your question, letter virgin, the PC version of Front Mission Online is currently in beta. Not only that, but a little bird whispered in my ear that they are accepting applicants for beta testing on Square Enix’s website. But I’m not going to look that up and confirm it, because that would show a lack of confidence in my own answer, something which I am incapable of doing.

Thanks for giving me your letter cherry, by the way. I think I’ll start a collection.



My Opinion is Always right. Always.


Q&A Contestant,

Which, in your opinion, is the greatest RPG ever, and why? And which, in your opinion again, is the lamest, worst, why did you bother making, RPG ever and why?

Finally if you have the corporate power to force any company i.e. square-enix, to make a sequel, what would it be? Thanks

G Singh


Z-FORCE

The greatest RPG ever is Chrono Trigger, and that isn’t my opinion, that’s a fact. Why? Because this is my column, and my word is law.

Chrono Trigger managed to take one of the most common RPG plotlines, “Save the Princess, Save the World” and turn it into a masterpiece of fourth dimensional storytelling. The continuity is better done than Back to the Future. All CT needed was a loony old Scientist with an off-white afro screaming physics equations at his dog to earn itself the coveted “Most Awesome Thing Created by Mankind, Ever” award.

Chrono Trigger also had a lot of stuff that fails to be prioritized in modern RPGs. The battle system was simple, quick, streamlined, and FUN. Battles were easily avoidable. The characters were lovable and, for the most part, unique. Sure there is a “princess” cliché in videogames, but since when was the princess a badass tomboy with a crossbow? That, and Magus is the coolest character in the history of videogames.

But THE reason why CT is my favorite game of all time is the music. The music was brilliant. It added the perfect amount of atmosphere and emotional depth. Every song was perfect; every environment came alive to Yasunori Mitsuda’s haunting tunes. He did a good job with Xenogears and Chrono Cross, but the beautiful music in CT is his best work. If you disagree, you are wrong.

As for the worst RPG… who the hell asks that sort of question? If it was crap, I didn’t bother to play it. You win today’s “Most Asinine Question” award, and your prize is a copy of Beyond the Beyond. Enjoy.



Spaz out, why don't you!


Good golly gee! In my World of Warcraft guild, a pally held aggro on Onyxia! All the way down to 75% of her life, when she ran away!!! It's quite an amazing thing if you ask me. I mean, like every other kid who plays World of Warcraft, I'm a rogue. So I decided I'd wipe my whole guild.... and go all out and try to die. IT DIDN'T WORK. THE PALLY HELD THE AGGRO.

Now that I've calmed down... Do you play World of Warcraft? I know even Andrew is addicted to it, so you better play it (And he's Canadian, so it's like $20 a month there!!!). If you don't play WoW how can you possibly win this contest? The obvious answer is by getting votes.... but I'll vote for you on all my of 16 computers if you answer this question... I promoise.

RPG's are fun, too, I guess

Andy


Z-FORCE

You are trying to communicate with me, I know you are, but I don’t speak Geektard. You are going to have to translate that into the King’s English.

No, I don’t play World of Warcraft. I know it gives many players quite the dorkgasm, but as I already said in a previous answer, I don’t have any interest in playing a game with no ending. I can’t afford to pay a monthly fee just to level up a digital version of myself when I could play a normal RPG and do it for free.



You just signed your death warrant, Phresh


....Who's Thor?

-Kresent Phresh


Z-FORCE

The Norse god of thunder, son of Odin, who smites his enemies with a giant hammer. When he wasn’t busy drinking mead and seducing bar wenches, he used to do the QnA on RPGamer.com. He disappeared for mysterious reasons, probably related to Ragnarok and his fated battle with Jormungandr. In modern times, he is nothing more than a whisper, an enigma, and the subject of thirty really crappy puns in the RPGamer Idol Threads.



I love having a bird's eye view of myself!


Dear Q/A Contestant

What's the deal with RPGs not having awesome world maps anymore? Remember how awesome it was exploring world maps in classic RPGs, such as the original six Final Fantasies, Dragon Quests, Breath of Fires, ect..? There were alway an exciting side-quests, über hard enemies, and neat towns with ultra-expensive wares. It seems console RPGs in the past few years are so linear in terms of exploration, and I blame it on the lack of A REAL WORLD MAP. I have to give credit to Atelier Iris for trying to utilize a world map, but the effort is so half-baked. What do you think?

Mike Mruzik


Z-FORCE

I think that, by denying players a world map, developers are trying to make their games feel larger than they really are. When you are forced to walk, by foot, between areas (instead of traversing large distances quickly with a world map), it makes the game “feel” longer, as well as forcing you to go to specific areas at specific times. Furthermore, if there isn’t a world map, a developer can always “add on” to the world in sequels so you aren’t limited to the old locations of the original.

But I still prefer world maps. The Suikoden series had a good system of world maps that still allowed expansion to the world in later sequels, as well as adding a feeling of mystery. You wondered what existed beyond the borders of the map and were interested in any sequel that came along, if for no other reason than to expand your horizons, so to speak.

The best system of all, in my opinion, is when you can travel between towns/locations “on foot” or via a teleport or flight system. I am specifically thinking of Secret of Mana when I write that, but it could also be applied to Fable, Jade Empire (for the most part), and numerous other modern RPGs.

World map systems like LEGEND of Mana, however, suck more than Jessica Simpson's attempts at acting.



That system is SO three years ago...


Hey whoever,

I'm not very particular about who gets this one, i just hope it's acceptable as a question. Anyway, with the upcoming hype about the "new generation" of systems, what do you think the life span on the current generation will be? The current consoles haven't had a chance to be really tested or outdated yet, so do you think that the PS2, Revolution, and XBox will continue for a while after their successor's release, or burn brightly before they fade away, with some of the best games for the systems appearing right before they're replaced?

Also, as a really poor post-college student, what's your recommendation for games, either upcoming or recent, to pick up before the holidays on the PS2 or GBA? best of luck to you, I'm rooting for y'all.

-- WildDrac


Z-FORCE

I assume you mean the PS2, the GAMECUBE, and the Xbox. The Revolution isn’t out yet. I should flame you for that, but I just used my last bit of lighter fluid to set my roommate on fire for playing “Feel Good, Inc” eight times in a row.

New systems are usually the priority once they are released. Developers will finish the games they already have in development for the old systems (which can be up to several months after the Next Gen’s release, mind you), but they won’t announce any new games. There are exceptions, usually from “smaller” companies who want to save money on development, but for the most part the release of a new system means the death of the old.

With the X-Box 360, some developers are creating games (not necessarily RPGs) that will be released on the X-Box AND the XB360, simultaneously, for those of us who don’t want to sell our soul to Satan and/or Courtney Love in order to buy a new system. In my opinion, this is a bad idea all around, because the X-Box version will be crap, and the XB360 version will miss out on a lot of time and money that could have been pumped into it if the X-Box version had been abandoned.

But let's not forget backwards compatibility. Any game you have for your old system (all three of them) will be playable on their Next Gen counterparts (with only a few speed bumps for Microsoft, due to their emulation software being an awful piece of software, like everything else they create).

As for recommendations of games, I’m going to have to direct you to Point of Views, where people much more informed than myself will point you in the direction of some quality titles, because I’m tired of doing research tonight for people too lazy to do it themselves.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well, that takes care of that. If your panties are in a twist after reading this, I don't care, and neither does anyone else. Tune in this weekend as Krescent Phresh and I fight to the death with any weapon of our choice. I will be using the noble nunchaku, and he will be using the common, yet strangely intimidating, spork.

Boyarty@aol.com
Steven Z is just warming up.


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