Ask miyuski
The SaGa Continues
miyu - December 15 '99- 5:57 Eastern Standard Time

SaGa Frontier and Final Fantasy system letters composed the majority of the letters today. I think a few interesting points are raised, and of course there's more exclusive screenshots from Jasc the RPG awaiting you! So let's just get to the column!

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In the PSX:
Vandal Hearts II
Finals = not very much time to play
In the DC:
Soul Calibur
Why do I still have these? I should replace these with "In the VCR" ;)
In the PC:
Himiko Den
Oh man, the opening's good.
Whew, is SGF worth all this discussion? ;)

Hey there... I know that you are a SaGa Frontier fan, so I want to ask you a few things. I, unlike the masses, do not think the game sucks, but I also think it has too many problems to be fun. (I also think that Secret of Evermore was a really fun game... please don't give out my email address, I don't want to be lynched for that comment!) Anyway, there are a few problems I have noticed with SaGa that I have never seen anyone mention, which I consider to be huge problems. But if no one else has noticed them, maybe I am missing something. Perhaps you can help, wise one?

1. First - There seems to be no way to revive a character who dies in battle. I have found no magic spells and no items that bring a dead character back to life. I know characters are revived when the battle ends as long as they still have Life Points, but what about IN battle? For me, when they die, they stay dead.

2. Second - There also seems to be very limited means of healing characters. You can only heal with equipped items, and when those run out, you're screwed. I also have found only 1 spell that heals a character. Add this to the fact that there is no way to heal everyone at once, and it makes the game very frustrating. Characters can only heal one at a time, and when they die they are dead for good! What's up with that?

3. Third - There is such an enormous gap in difficulty between each scenario and its end boss. The scenarios are just plain easy all the way through, but when you get to the end boss, they smash you to little bitty pieces (and you can't bring dead people back to life, urgh!!). As a result, I only actually beat 1 of the 7 scenarios (Emilia's) and that's only because both Liza and Emilia had the Dream Super Combo and enough Ability Points to use it about 5 times each. But I only had 1 character out of 5 left alive when the battle was finally over.

In conclusion... these are the problems that I have with SaGa, and I have never heard anyone mention them. Am I missing something major here? If those problems didn't exist, I think the game would be enormously fun. It has great music, rather interesting characters, and nice eye candy here and there... but those problems are just too big to make it fun.


Gee, it's nice to hear something other than "SaGa Frontier sux and Contrail rules!" from the fans here, and your arguments even make sense! Will wonders never cease?! Anyway, about the healing and life thing, I can't imagine this being true, because I don't remember having any problems with healing anybody, and I think I would remember something as important as that...of course, I don't actually own the game anymore and the last time I played it was about 1 1/2 years ago, so maybe I'm wrong. As for the gap in difficulty, it's just part of the non-linearity. You're encouraged to go on more quests so you can actually beat the bosses. If you don't do that, there's no way you can beat them. As someone else who wrote in mentioned, one of the great things about the game was that you could deal out 5-digit damage and the enemies would be coming back for more!

For all its flaws, the impression I got from the responses to yesterday's column was that a lot of people genuinely enjoyed the game and are looking forward to its very nice-looking sequel. On a side note, interestingly enough, SaGa Frontier actually sold more copies in Japan than Xenogears did. Muse over that, you SaGa-bashers! ;)

The future sure does look bright, though!
Hi ho Mr. Miyu! when will xenogears2 come out? i really enjoyed the original. will lunar 2 for psx be out in spring 2000? When will Grandia 2 and Phantasy Star Online be out for DC? Is Legend of Dragoon gonna be a awsome rpg in your words? i really wanna know if its worth getting.

Whoa, looking pretty far ahead there, aren't we? Lunar 2 has a Spring 2000 release date guess, but we all know how reliable Working Designs is about release dates, don't we? Grandia 2 and PSO are on the horizon for the DC, announced but not with any real info or release date. Xenogears 2 hasn't even been confirmed yet, so we'll just have to hope for now. As for Legend of Dragoon, I think Sony may have been aiming too high, because I haven't found anything yet to draw me into it. Maybe a closer look will reveal a better game, but right now I'm not too excited about it. We still have plenty of time, though, since it's not even out in Japan yet!

Which FF system is the best?
In December 14's Mailbag you wrote that you want a "return to something like the FF4 system with set classes and characters instead of "Make-Your-Own-Character" systems that have pervaded the series since then." In actuality, FF4 was the ONLY Final Fantasy to feature set classes and characters. You could choose your classes in FF1 (although they were set for the entire game, you didn't have to play with a party determined by the game) In FF2(j) there was a Saga series type of leveling, so they didn't have set classes (although they did have set characters). And FF3(j) featured a class system nearly identical to the one in FF5. Claiming that "Make-Your-Own-Character" systems "pervaded" the series is incorrect; instead, the set classes and characters system in FF4 is the exception in the series.

Thanks for your time.
-Phil W.
hullo Miyu After reading Cerick's letter and your response I got to thinking. I'd really like to see some type of job system in future FFs. It's been fairly successful in FF3j, FF5, and FFT so why not use an improved version of those found in previous games? A Junction/Esper type magic system is all right but leaves something to be desired. The Materia system made individual characters generic versions of each other. I think a Job system would be ideal because it has different classes like FF2/4 but with a little bit of flexibility (i.e. Knights who had perviously been White Mages can have good attack power and defense while still being able to cast cure and life spells) ~ Dave "Gai Daigoji" Panseri

Good points, but since I'm so loathe to admit I'm wrong, and I'm definitely not in this situation, I'll have to disagree. I didn't mean to say that FF1-3 had the same system as FF4, you merely interpreted me as saying that for whatever reasons you may have. I meant to say that I regard Final Fantasy 4 as the peak of the Final Fantasy systems and that it basically went downhill to FF6, then back up to FF8 where it is today. I do think, however, that the job system is the second-best system in the FF games for exactly the reasons that Dave presents. I certainly hope that FF9 returns to one of these systems or actually comes up with something entirely new, not just semi-new like 7 and 8. Maybe the more futuristic setting makes the use of classes harder, but I enjoy them a lot more than what we have now. :)

Mononoke(ӿ) means ghost or supernatural thing in Japanese
Hey, thanks for answering my letter yesterday about Princess Monoke vs Pokemon. In Gamers Republic magazine, they review anime, along with vidio games. 2 of the reviewers put "Princess Monoke" at the #1 spot on their "Favorite animes of all time" lists. That must be a pretty good movie. Is it out on vidio? Can I buy it somewhere?

You're not bad. I read the column for once yesterday, to see if you printed that last letter. What happened to Googleshng? I read his last column, but I didn't see anything that said he was leaving. Did I overlook it?

-Zack S.

Hehe, just for future reference, it's "Princess Mononoke", with two no's. I wouldn't say it's my favorite anime of all time, as I liked Whispers of the Heart, another Miyazaki film, more, but it's definitely great and worth seeing. Although I haven't heard anything about another expanded release officially, I *do* know that at least one more theatre near me has picked Mononoke up since the last expansion, so perhaps there is still hope for more expansion. At any rate, Disney will almost assuredly release it on video sometime next year, so if you can't make it to the theaters, do yourself a favor and buy the video.

To clear up some more stuff about Googleshng, as far as I know he is not leaving, he is just without a working computer and monitor combination, and until he gets one, I think it will be a little bit hard for him to come online. ;P

Who's a conformist?
Wow, j-pop is really crappy. it all sounds the same. stupid japanese conformists. they all look the same they all make the same music they all dress the same etc. there are about 2 genres of j-pop. that crap rock and that crap type where a girl or group of girls sing. bah! Protenon

Pfft, I think someone's been reading too much Dave Barry or something. Maybe you should try listening to some good J-Pop, like Hamasaki Ayumi or Sasaki Yuko or Nakama Yukie. They all sound different, and a lot of it sounds good. Maybe it's not your thing, but you can't just make a statement like that and expect to live. The ninjas will get you.

Okay so sue me.
About the last names of the Sages of Shevat; Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar are their last names. You see in the game that Melchior's first name is Taura. In the Xenogears Perfect Works book it says that Balthasar's first name is Isaac. I don't know what Gaspar's first name is, but I do know that Yui is his granddaughter.

I thought that it would be better if they were just Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar and nothing else, but I guess Xenogears's creators disagreed! Of course, my life is now complete with this obscure bit of information revealed! Thanks! ;)

Small things...
A few days ago, I saw on the column some comments on the references on religious and cultural places, characters etc. that RPGs have. I'd like to add a new approach to this. I've also noticed that aside from that, most of the games have some sort of moral to teach gamers. I take for example FFT, although it had controversial (as I've heard, haven't played it myself) religious content, deep down it showed the danger that humanity is exposed to when a church is corrupted (and as I also remember, BoF2 also had a similar message). I think that messages like that, that teaches us about our lifestyles, everyday life, moral, etc., are also found in RPGs, even if they happen in a fantastic world. What do you think of this?

Tommorrow (Dec. 15th) is my b-day. Let's see if I receive as a gift something on my RPG wish list . ;-)

Well, I guess that's it for now. Take care, Miyu, and while we're at it, Happy Holidays! =)

Yours truly,
Francis Alma

I've always thought that playing RPGs, watching anime, or reading books really helps one keep an open mind and think about life, even if the morals of the games or whatever are sometimes simplistic. Sometimes the simple things can open your eyes to something you haven't seen before. As recently as last night, I was watching Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou, and I think it really changed my view of some things about relationships, and that's really the best thing about reading, playing, or watching things.

Maybe some people think that's trite and that learning things that way is impossible, but in my experience different points of view can really change your mind about things. RPGs can really be a good interactive way to see those points of view, and have fun while you're at it. :)

So happy birthday, and have fun with your new RPG!

WHAT?! You don't want to hear more about anime?!
Hey, Miyu.
 nbsp;I could be, but I doubt I'm the first to say this. But please keep the anime stuff to a minimum. I don't mean to totally abolish it, just keep in mind that this is first and foremost an RPG column. I like anime, but my first love is games, games, games! And I come here for the games, not for the anime.
 nbsp;And for the guy who suggested you put anime letters on your column when you don't have gaming letters, please NO! I think it might dilute the gaming aspect of the site. Personally, I'd rather it was kept short if there's no traffic than filling it with somewhat irrelevent anime stuff.  nbsp;I think the column would be ten times better if it was solely focused on RPGs. I know that would never happen though. Not with you, Goog, Thor, anyone. But I can hope!
 nbsp;Just my opinion, so nothing personal.


Well, this is your column, so I'll leave it up to you guys! Have I been doing too much anime stuff lately? Tired of hearing about crazy Japanese singers of whom you've never heard? Or do you like hearing me rant about how bad Dragonball Z is and how you should go out and see Lain right this instant?

Jasc the RPG! Part II!
here are the latest screenshots stolen from Jasc headquarters, showing the pocketstation game for Jasc the RPG, Jassyfish World!! you will see Jasc defeating a chocobo and fighting creeps, plus one more monster that has not been identified!! no one knows what it is!! some say maybe a cameo
-SC the spy
1 - 2 - 3

Yes, the newly announced Jasc the RPG follows the trend of all new Japanese games by having Pocketstation support! It will be an exciting addition to the game, surely! Battle in Mexico...Round 1, FIGHT!


is it me, or does ff anthology run so slowly that you wanna throw your spx out of the window, and plug in that ol' snes?

It's not just you, but I think it runs just fine. Of course, the SNES version *is* faster...

Is it wrong to worship you as a god? After I heard you hate Dragonball Z, I immediatly came to that conclusion. Everyone doesn't seem to buy "but miyuski said so, and he is god" when in a argument about whether DBZ is good or not.
-Your loyal worshipper

Whee, I have a loyal worshipper...of course it's not wrong, it's quite right. Now...what would be a good use for my new legion of followers.... If you see anyone else not buying that line, tell me and I'll zap 'em good!

I broke a mirror and now it's shining millions of rays of light


Now you can be in the ending song!

... ... ...Do you really work at Sandia?

Yep, fear!

is it just me, or is the final fantasy 4( and 5, 6...) ''battle entrance'' sound extremely scary? I mean, i almost jumped out of my chair the first time i heard it!

-JRider -''Please!No more!''-

Hehehe, you're not the first person to mention that! The entrances are certainly sudden and loud, so I can understand it being a little startling. :)

What's with all of you guys leaving?! You're just being tempted to go join Thor's Cult centered in Wisconsin! That path is evil! I can't rely on you cult-minded Q&A guys anymore... Google, Thor, Veronica, JD, Brad, that guy whose name I forgot... miyu, you'll never leave me, will you?!

~Hall of Fame An... er... just brenden

Secret Q&A retired people's cult! That's it! I bet we get to sit around and play video games and watch anime all day! When can I retire?! :D

Hiya Miyu...heeheehee...your name sounds like a cat...heeheehee


Pfft, it sounds nothing at all like a cat. Both the Japanese and English agree that there's an "ow" sound on the end of a cat sound, and miyu clearly has a "you" sound. Get your sounds straight, boy!

Closing Commentary on Topics Relevant to Today's Column:

Phew, another late column done. In case you missed it, Dabria was kind enough to send me a copy of the 13th's column so my mistake is cleared! I hope to get some responses to the anime/j-pop topic, and what you guys think of the different Final Fantasy systems...which ones are your favorites? Evolution is shipping soon, so I hope that everyone goes out and gets it if they have a DC! It looks like a fun little game, if not an epic RPG or anything. :)

And if you're a fan of Evangelion, Jeremy Parish just posted the last two episodes of Evangelion Thumbnail Theatre over at Toastyfrog, and they're hilarious, so go check them out!

Curtis "Anime ^^;;;;;" Harmon
Man, I don't know what I'd do without anime references in my column! ;)

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