Welcome to another edition of the
mailbag! I'm currently still busy with Dark Souls II
but I've also started up Final Fantasy X-2 for the
Mailbag Challenge. It's amazing how an open mind and
years of more varied game playing can give you a
completely different perspective on a game. While I'm
still not in love with the mission based structure, I am
absolutely being sucked in by the infectious goofiness of
the whole affair. Even the soundtrack, which I didn't like
at the time (maybe just because it wasn't Uematsu) is
clicking with me a lot more. I've got a good feeling about
this run! Hopefully I'm still having a blast by the game's
Anyway, let's jump right into it!
This Edition's Contents:
Hot Topic (not the store)
You mentioned that a hot topic you saw on the internet was
What Should Bioware Do in the next Mass Effect.
Well, it was more
something that I wanted to hear people talk
about than an actual hot topic, but carry on!
Well this is what I think she be done in the next game.
Before I really get into it I honestly think the next game
story should not involve the Reapers or the Geth or be about
saving the galaxy.
That is not to say that they could not be in it, they just
would not be the main focus of the game.
I can agree with
that. Especially considering if it's a game
taking place after the previous Mass Effects
picking one canon ending or making it ambiguous
would make it very difficult to include them. Of
course a prequel could work, which would by its
very nature then not be able to strongly involve
For me the next Mass Effect game should focus on the
underworld that we caught a glimpse of in ME1-ME3
especially in ME2 and the ME3 DLC that took
place on Omega.
Think if they did that we could get a better glimpse
of what life is like in the Mass Effect universe as
a whole if you are not a soldier.
First off I think the game should be set about 4-5 years
before the first game maybe a few years after the First
Contact War. Want it set after the First Contact War
because the game
could bring into play the bias felt towards humans in the
years after the war.
I think there's
tremendous potential here. The first three games
created a very interesting universe with plenty
of room of stories to go back to without having
to worry about how future sequels will handle
the multiple endings just yet.
In terms of the story personally
want it to be a scifi noir game, where you play a private
detective or something like that and the story is all about
the cases you take that seem not to be related
but on subtle levels they all tie into the overall story of
the game. Say Mass Effect meets the Maltese Falcon
or The Big Sleep. Want it to be a more personal story.
Holy cow, now I
want a Mass Effect Noir that will
probably never happen, damn it!
One idea I had for the story is you
before you became a detective you served under Ashley's
Williams grandfather but because of how he was treated you
left the military.
In order to tie into that when creating your character, you
would choose what you did under his command, like one was
you where an officer in charge of information warfare,
another option would be say you where a soldier in charge of
one of his commando squads not sure what a third option
would be but depending what you picked would help determine
your detective skills. If the game went another
route choose you could choose from say being a c-sec
officer, mob-enforcer, or a thief and like the original ME
games quests would unfold depending on what you picked.
certainly allow for many different replays. Not
only that, but the smaller scale nature of the
story would mean there would be very few
restrictions on the variety of endings. There's
a lot of untapped potential here I think. You
could even do dlc bonus cases to do more fun
Will not go into any more depth but with the Mass Effect
games Bioware created a fantastic scifi universe and they
have barely scratched the surface of it, whatever the next
hope they take us deeper into the looking glass.
wholeheartedly. The ending to the trilogy left
many of us with mixed feelings, but a lot of
that is because of how much we all loved the
journey through the incredible universe leading
up to that. The choices we made, though they may
not have effected the final story much, change
the road up to it, even resulting in the life or
death of entire races. There's so much more they
could do with the universe, and I look forward
to seeing what they come up with.
Grumpy Old Men
Is the level of negativity in the gaming community something
new, or just something more focused on now?
I was hoping
someone would tackle this...
It's not new, but I don't think it's more focused on either.
The negativity of the gaming community stands in direct
relation to the great-to-crap ratio of game releases.
I suppose? But how
is that determined? While in earlier 3D gaming
days it was easier to agree on awful games, it's
not so cut and dry anymore. That's not even
getting into the fact that some of the
publishers and developers notorious for
shovelware aren't around any more. While there
never was a time where everyone could agree on
the quality of any given game, it seems worse so
now, or at least opinions seem more extreme.
I honestly can't think of too many games that I would
consider must-plays in the past year. The best games of 2013
were all sequels of game series that I don't see as having
done much to bring a lot of new things to the table (like Fire
Emblem), or... spiritual successor series that...
didn't bring a lot of new things to the table (in my humble
and uninformed opinion).
To each their own
I suppose, because I actually found a lot of
these sequels actually did bring a lot new to
the table (Fire Emblem) or in some cases
were just fantastic and solid entries in
established series ( Shin Megami Tensei IV).
I'm not sure why everything has to "bring
something new to the table" to have any sort of
value. Gaming history is filled with revered
titles that tweaked and solidified existing
ideas to a sharp point, without necessarily
being completely new or fresh. I see nothing
with iterating so long as it results in fun
games (I have no complaints about all the
versions of Street Fighter IV for
There isn't a lot of new stuff out that feels fresh.
Everything feels like a rehash of a rehash and to be quite
fair, anything I forgave pre-PS2 era I can no longer
forgive. And let's not even begin with Square Enix releasing
all those pay to play monstrosities that mock the franchises
we so loved once. No
Why exactly? The
PS1 and PS2 era are filled with games that
couldn't quite get past technical limitations.
This newer era is filled with games where that
is largely no longer an issue, save for games
that go too far and create an unstable
environment (I'm looking at you Skyrim).
Of course, despite better technology where are
getting plenty of rehashes like the Call of
Duty series. Of course these games that
reach for the stars have created many
challengers to the throne that clearly didn't
have the technical know-how or budget to pull of
(hi ArcaniA) so I suppose it's a double
edged sword. Still, there's been plenty of fresh
titles on portable systems that often go
unnoticed. It's not a perfect environment, but
are we forgetting the days when the likes of Summoner
and King's Field where the
representative of your average RPG?
Also your mocking of the MMOs is odd considering
how much of a lover letter to past games Final
Fantasy XIV often feels like.
The last RPG I bought was The Last Story (quite
fittingly) and I can't remember when the last time before
that was when I bought a new game. I honestly can't. But I
have to be honest with myself and accept that I fall
Squarely (sorry) into the grumpy old grognard category of
gamers. I am no authority on the matter.
It's OK to be in
that category, so long as you realize that you
are. Getting older largely sucks in this regard.
It's hard to be excited for new games when we
now have a better idea of what any new game will
be. There's less room to be surprised, and
enchanted. The games to provide this are out
there though. I'm always on the lookout for the
next game to do what Resonance of Fate
and Dark Souls have done in providing
that exact excitement and surprise I thought
were impossible. Don't give up! The games you're
looking for are out there somewhere.
ps. I do like the new mailbag set up.
Thanks! I'm glad
people are enjoying it. I can tell you from my
perspective it is a million times easier to work
Kyle I couldn't
agree more on the need for an HD version of Final
Fantasy XII on Vita. That game is
incredible, and another case of an international
version we never saw released in the West.
Having that international version with the new
license grids and fast forward feature in
glorious HD, with a Vita version is a dream that
needs to become a reality. Make it so Square
Enix! More Final Fantasy on Vita!
Jeff I wanted to disagree but playing the game
now and getting things fresh in my mind it's
hard to argue that a lot of the music in Final
Fantasy X isn't forgettable. I don't think
it's bad, and the notable themes are still quite
good, but comparing it to the soundtrack that
preceded it in Final Fantasy IX does it
no favors. Seems to me it was past time at that
point for some new composers to takeover the
series soundtracks. IX would have made a
fitting cap on his Final Fantasy career.
Still, it did give us the delightful otherworld.
Ken I think you're right. We're now well past X-2,
the VII sequels, and The After Years
so X-2 really does look much better in
retrospect. I'm certainly enjoying it now.
Perhaps just coming out relatively close to X
when we were all still very serious about it,
made the story particularly harmless to the
immediate reactions? Certainly the battle system
seems to mostly get praised. After XIII-2
got positive reception from many, and Crisis
Core continues to be a favorite of many
fans, I have no doubt that we'll probably see
more direct sequels in the future. I'm perfectly
OK with this, especially if they dare to be as
different as X-2 was.
Here are some hot topics I've seen around
- Is the level of negativity in the gaming community
something new, or just something more focused on now?
- No seriously, where are your Dragon Quest VII
thoughts and opinions?
- What should BioWare do in the next Mass Effect?
See you next week!
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