RPGFan Editorials - October 10th, 2000

It's been exactly one week since the last update, and we have three new editorials yet again. The topics being covered lately are definitely fresh and new, and the writing has been better than ever. Feedback has been very positive with the new layout, and I'm glad you folks like it.

I've been asked by one reader, what game I've been playing lately, and the answer is Street Fighter Alpha 3, but RPG-wise, Grandia II was the last thing I played, and it was a very enjoyable experience. The upcoming months are looking very sweet for US gamers, with titles like Final Fantasy IX, Skies of Arcadia, and Grandia II coming out before the Christmas holiday season. Even though I finished my import copy of Grandia II recently, I'm as excited as just about everyone else to get my hands on the domestic version, since I can only pick out a little spoken Japanese dialogue here and there.

On the message boards here at RPGFan, particularly the General Discussions board, Panzer Dragoon Saga was brought up and discussed, and I ended up listening to the music from this phenomenal RPG this evening. So, for this week's Song of the Week, I bring you the tune "Atolm Dragon" for all of you Panzer Dragoon fans, and also to all of you who never got the chance to play this title.

Stop Whining, Will Ya!? Please?

Since the release of Final Fantasy VII, there have been quite a few RPGs released in the US, and the numbers seem to be steadily growing. As Rudo mentioned, the RPG genre is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance in America. Many of us are buying up every RPG we can get our hands on, and we're getting frustrated because we are unable to finish the games we have before new ones we want are released, or we lack the cash flow to keep up with RPG purchases, or both. I got caught up in this frenzy for a couple months. In the month of July alone, I purchased Wild Arms 2, Lunar SSSC, Parasite Eve, FF7, Vagrant Story, Sakura Taisen, and the Final Fantasy Anthology. I've only finished FF7, and instead of going on to the others, I'm playing Chrono Cross. I've decided to back off for a bit and only play one RPG at a time, no matter what is out there. That's something I can recommend to anyone else who's feeling burnt out on RPGs.

The main point I wish to get across in this editorial is, along with the onslaught of new RPGs that are hitting stores, I'm seeing a large amount of petty complaints. It seems that there's a bunch of new stereotypes and flamewars surfacing over nothing. I read RPGFan's message boards frequently, and what I see irritates me at times. Things like people getting put down for liking Final Fantasy VIII, or liking any RPG made by Working Designs. As Parn mentioned in his editorial, some people aren't taken seriously simply because they started their RPG experiences with FF7. People are flamed for liking new games more than old games, and told they know nothing because they are younger. I've got news for everyone, idiocy is independent of age.

I'll use Final Fantasy VIII as an example, because it's one of my favorite games and I tend to pay more attention to FF8-related messages. If i were to comment about how the techical brilliance of FF8's CG cut scenes surpass anything I've seen to date, I'd get something like "well, graphics aren't that important anyway, as long as there's a good story, and that whole witch story suxx0rs, d00D" in return. In contrast, If I rave about how complex and emotionally stimulating FF7's story was, I'd get "but the graphics were too blocky." So, which is it? Are the graphics more important, or the story? I've seen complaints that FF8 sucks because it looks too REAL! Are people really so disgruntled that they must pick a game apart just to prove that it's not as great as whatever their favorite is? I thought it was annoying to have to scroll through the entire items menu in FF6 to find what you're looking for, but did I broadcast it on the internet? Heck NO, because I think it's an excellent game in almost every way. In fact, the only reason I brought it up is to make my point. Why some people feel they have to broadcast their hatred of a game with expletives and petty complaints is beyond my realm of understanding. I've got a great way of showing that I don't like a game: I don't buy it. The simple truth is that one can find hundreds of problems with any game, regardless of its quality. The experience is what counts. I've yet to play an RPG which I deemed a total waste of time.

If people would just slow down and make educated decisions about what they buy, then maybe we'd all see less of these shallow, meaningless complaints on forums. We RPG gamers do not need to sample every bit of media that hits the market just to give us credibility on message forums. Let Famitsu worry about reviewing every game out there. I'm going to take things one at a time.

- Cid

Honestly, I too can say that I'm in the midst of the crowd that picks on certain titles over rather miniscule things. I've done it in the past, though I'm a lot more careful with the things I say now. I really used to say silly things like "Final Fantasy VII sucks because it's nothing but a game full of movies", and then turn around and play Panzer Dragoon Saga, which has about 1/10 the amount of gameplay time if you cut out all the movies.

Various factors in different games make us like or dislike certain RPGs more than others. Really, to each his/her own.

Unfinished Business

I have a problem, and hopefully many of you RPG gamers can sympathize with what Iím about to reveal. I am guilty of not being able to finish what I started. What usually happens is that I would start a brand new game, and for one reason or another I would be unable to continue, so Iíd then take a break from it, and more often than not Iíd stop playing it completely, leaving another unfinished record on my memory card. So now you know, and Iíll point out two factors that I believe, have contributed to this dilemma.

Rudoís editorial on "An Abundance of RPGs" led me to writing this, and that is where I want to begin. As Rudo pointed out, because there is a large amount of RPGs available, his excitement for RPGs became diminished and abated. Iíd have to agree with that, because in the days of the original Final Fantasy games, and later Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana, buying those games at the store gave me goose bumps, and I would play the game literally to death searching for every secret. Even playing the game for the 3rd time through was just as fun as the first time, back then the lack of RPGs allowed me to explore the ones Iím playing thoroughly. Unfortunately this is not the case now, as new RPGs are introduced almost every month, so I have to pick and choose which one to get. Unlike most people, Iím not restricted financially, therefore I can afford to get a copy every time a new RPG comes out, but in reality I only purchase about 70% of the console RPGs that come out in a given year. Even so, I still have unopened copies of Legend of Dragoon, Legend of Mana, Koudelka, and Vagrant Story sitting on my shelf, not counting the imports I havenít touched yet, plus upcoming games like FF9, Persona 2, Ogre Battle 64, Skies of Arcadia, and Grandia 2. To me, there is actually a pressure to finish a game quickly so I can move on to the next one. Gone is the day when I can just sit down and truly enjoy playing RPGs, when I can immerse myself in their fantastical and imaginative world. Sure, I can probably buy less games and just go with what I have now, but there is always a desire to want more, wanting newer and better games. That is another mentality I get, I mean if I can play FF9 or Grandia 2, why should I bother to go back and finish FF Anthology? Iím sad to report that up until now, I have not finished FF7, Kartia (just the male story), Jade Cocoon, Star Ocean, Grandia, and Vanguard Bandits.

Another thing Iíd like to point out is the difficulty in RPGs. Many times it actually discourages me from continuing games. Sometimes this is easily solved by reading an online faq or walkthrough, or simply to raise the charactersí levels, but that often takes away the fun of playing. To me, leveling is just one aspect of the game. Of course Iíd like my characters to be powerful and learn all the possible skills, abilities, and magic, but that is not the sole purpose of why I play an RPG. Certain games have terrible level transition, the difficulty between one area and the next is ridiculously different that you have to take the time to level up in order to continue with the story. Same with the enemies in the dungeons, easy kills mixed with extremely difficult ones that you canít help but to die or to run away in fear. Maybe thatís why most RPG now have enemies you can see, gamers can then choose to fight or to avoid them, but many people will find that by missing those battles, more often than not your characters arenít strong enough to kill the boss. Unfortunately for me, Iím a perfectionist. In addition to my desire of finding all the playable characters in a game, I always like to keep them all at an equal level, which usually means I donít have one powerful party that can breeze through the game quickly. Because of that, I frequently find myself back to square one, raising levels again, and games I have neglected because of this are Valkyrie Profile, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, and FF8.

Although I have a lot of time on my hands, I find myself playing RPGs a little less every week, except for games that I just got, and I would play those for 20+ hours, and then leave them to collect dust. Can you believe that I actually cheered when I finally finished Vandal Hearts 2? Well, I think its time to take things slow and finish my old games before I start a new one. Now I feel that owning so many RPGs seems like a curse rather than blessing.

- Kakyouin

I'm one of those folks that owned a Saturn and basically got left in the dark without too many games to play. I haven't purchased a PSX since that time, since I've chosen to wait for the PS2, and thus went with a Dreamcast instead. RPGs are extremely abundant now, and I've become very selective with my purchases, due to my rather empty wallet. I'm almost scared to say that I'm happy not purchasing a PSX, because I might have put myself into debt since if I owned the system, the temptation to purchase new games would have been even greater than it already was.

While it's great that there are so many games of the genre that we love so much, I really feel that the companies should slow down a bit, because they're going too fast for us gamers, and if they keep increasing production at this rate, they'll all go bankrupt from lack of sales. =P

System Bias

Is it just me, or is system bias still as bad as ever?

On message boards everywhere I look (not necessarily here), I see people raving about how the PS2 will destroy everything, or the Dreamcast sucks because its hardware is older, or the X-Box should fail because it's created by Microsoft. There are also the occasional remarks about Nintendo's Gamecube, although not nearly as much as the other three systems since the news about it is fairly new. One thing is certain though, bias is all over the place, and it isn't just the consumers... the developers are in on it too.

I think the system with the most hatred towards it is the X-Box. So many people have already decided that they aren't going to purchase it because "Microsoft is evil". Well, if you don't want to support evil, I highly recommend you uninstall Windows 9x, ME, or NT off of your PC right now. Also, get rid of Microsoft Office, Works, Word, Excel, and a zillion other programs that you probably have running on your PC. As for me, I'm going to continue using my "evil" software and I'm going to watch how the X-Box goes in terms of game development. I really don't care if Microsoft is a big company and could monopolize the game industry (which cannot happen anyways, the government would intervene). One could say that Sony has a similar stance on the industry with the PSX right this very moment, yet I don't hear half as many complaints.

Next in line is Sega. Several developers have dropped ship to go produce games for PS2. Pardon me, but where is the logic in ignoring the already large user-base that has been established in America, which is still increasing, and instead, going straight to developing for a system that "promises" to be successful? Why not continue developing for Dreamcast, and also make games for PS2? Tossing Sega aside is like throwing away a 50 dollar bill you found on the ground because your mother said she might give you 100 dollars when you get home. Personally, I would take both and have $150, but maybe that's just me.

Sony already has a huge fanbase in line to purchase a PS2, only problem being that there will supposedly be a shortage. The real problem I have with this though, is that on many boards that I have read, Sega fanatics are screaming about how Sony sucks because of that. I don't get it, I really don't. Sega launched with 350,000 units, Sony is launching with 500,000, see the double standard? And Sony is shipping 100,000 out each week after launch, so what's the big deal? Honestly, I don't think Sony will have the same amount of success they had with the PSX, with the PS2 this time around since their competitors have learned and changed their tactics, but I'm not about to completely toss them aside simply because they won't have PS2s in stock.

Nintendo doesn't have too much going wrong for them at the moment through word of mouth, though I'm sure that'll change as the launch comes closer. They've already been the butt of many a joke, regarding their original system's name "Dolphin", and I admit to making commentary on how stupid the name was. Gamecube isn't much better a name, but I've heard a few complaints on the looks of the system and the controller itself. The titles announced look promising, but we'll see if they come through (and I'm sure they will).

"Be open-minded." Many people have said that to me in the past when I was one of those Sega fanatics who simply refused to like anything unless it was on a Sega system. Now, it's my turn to give those simple words to everyone else who's still set on hating other systems just because they don't own it. Why limit yourself? And these same words go to you game developers out there... stop throwing away potential profits. It's stupid.

- Parn

Yes indeed, I'm talking to myself yet again, just like last week, as I wrote another editorial. And obviously, there's no need to really comment about this one. :)

Recent Updates
[ Current ]
[ 08-10-04 ]
[ 07-19-04 ]
[ 07-01-04 ]
[ 04-23-04 ]
Editorial Archives
Editorial Guidelines
Send me editorials!
This Week's Question: Where do you see the MMO genre going from here?

That's all folks! If you wish to submit a counterpoint to any of these editorials, or write one with your own topic of choice, read the submission guidelines please.


Twitch Schedule & Status

Sunday, September 30
Final Fantasy XIV Patch 4.4 • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

Star Ocean: Till The End of Time • 3:00pm PDT/5:30pm EDT
Wild ARMs 5 • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Wild ARMs 5 • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Kingdom Hearts - Re:Chain of Memories • 2:30pm PDT/5:30pm EDT
Wild ARMs 5 • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Final Fantasy IX • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Friday Super Variety Night • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Week in Review: Live • 11am PDT/2pm EDT
Wild ARMs 5 • 5pm PDT/8pm EDT

CrossCode Giveaway

CrossCode Giveaway

Heaven Will Be Mine Review

Heaven Will Be Mine

Retro Encounter 154

Retro Encounter 154

CrossCode Review


428: Shibuya Scramble Review

428: Shibuya Scramble