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Platinum Power
Wednesday, July 3, 2002

Yeah yeah, forgive the cheesy headline. I just got my platinum GameBoy Advance today, just let me bask in my glory a little bit. Okay? Okay.

I decided a while ago to trade in my arctic GBA... or was it glacier? I can't get the names straight. :P That nice frosty light blue one. Anyway, I traded it in, as well as a bunch of RPGs that we had double copies of, at GameStop so I can acquire one of them limited edition beauties. Funny how Parasite Eve was good for $3, yet Xenogears, with a crappy box and missing the instruction manual, can fetch me twelve bucks. Come to think of it... everything I traded in, other than Metal Gear Solid, was a Square PSX RPG. What a way to make me feel like a Square whore. I even had a bunch of cash left that I put towards Kingdom Hearts, due out this September, and let me tell you, after writing up a lengthy preview update on KH, I want that game more now. Alas, I missed out on reserving Wild Arms 3... and .hack. Gah, too many games this fall, I tell you.

Speaking of GameBoy... I somehow, one way or another, got around to playing Link's Awakening DX (I prefer color in my games thanks) last night - or shall I say this morning, at 1 AM, and went through the first couple of hours pretty quickly. I would have played longer if I'd have been able to sleep in today... alas, the platinum GBA was calling. Of course, I just might end up playing all night tonight as well, since I haven't even so much as turned on my new GBA yet. Now all I need is one of those screen covers they were giving out at E3...

And happy Canada Day, you silly (fellow) Canucks. I can't celebrate it... so celebrate it for me.

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Lunar: To Complete or Not To Complete?

Hiya Liz,

Having only discovered the letters section of RPGfan five minutes ago - despite having visited the site since its original Lunarnet incarnation - I decided to send a message myself! Strange, but I've never even looked at the fan section of the site (I know that's what makes RPGfan special but just never got round to it).

Anyhow, being that rarest of creatures, an Irish RPG nut, I've had to import almost all of my games from the States. I try to buy when possible (just got the Arc collection from a site called CD Universe. Gotta love that Omake box) but unfortunately many times I've had to resort to illegal copies. I'd prefer to support the games by buying, but sometimes its not possible or simply not worth it. Which brings me to the point of this letter.

Despite having searched everywhere on the net about two years ago, I couldn't find a copy of Lunar SSS anywhere (or Xenogears at the same time) so I resorted to backups. All I can say is thank God I didn't buy the full version of the former - quite simply, having waited years for a chance to play what many called the greatest RPG ever, I was shocked at how boring the game was. While I fully appreciated the translation, humour and effort put into the characters, I thought the main plot was staid and predictable. In complete contrast, I have since bought a proper copy of Xenogears because I felt the game was so good.

Which actually brings me (sorry, but thought I'd get there quicker the first time!!) to the point of this letter. I got Lunar 2 from a friend about two months ago and have since finished it. I wasn't expecting much, after my experience with the first game, but after finishing it I can say it ranks very close to Xenogears and the Chrono series as an all-time favourite. It was simply brilliant.

I'm not in touch with fans of Lunar at all, so basically my question is - am I the only one who thinks Lunar 1 is boring and Lunar 2 is a masterpiece?

Ronan Jennings, Ireland.

Don't worry, I'll forgive you this time. You should check the fan center more often... of course, this is the section most often updated, but oh well. Besides, letters columns are a staple of gaming sites and what good are they if they're not updated often enough?

First, you earn much praise from myself for deeming Xenogears so worthy that you decided to hunt down an original copy. Many people drop the game after its initial boring ten hours, citing it boring, and the battle engine awful. I'm not sure why I never thought so myself, but that might be because I was so persistent, with hearing about how good of a game it was. And it was, so much that I made a website dedicated to it. Oh so many years ago.

Initially, it had seemed to me that the general consensus was that Lunar 1 was better than 2 by far. Having never seen 1 myself, I was rather quickly turned off of 2 by the voice acting overall... though I haven't actually played it, I must say I'm looking forward to playing it a lot less than I'm looking forward to playing Final Fantasy Tactics.

Of course, surveying people who have played both of the PSX Lunar's, I've found out otherwise. Of those who like Siler Star Story Complete, the first Lunar, better, it wasn't exactly by a huge margin. They still liked Eternal Blue Complete, liked the characters about equally, and a few might even admit EBC's advantages over SSSC, though on the flipside, EBC is supposedly harder and the voice acting isn't as good as SSSC. Mind you, none of the bigger EBC fans I stumbled upon really disliked SSSC at all - you're not the only one who thinks EBC has the superior storyline, it seems. Another favorite factor was being able to customize the battle system more with the crests. I have yet to find who dislikes SSSC and loves EBC as equally as you do. Though I'm sure there's someone. And if not, hey, you're entitled to your opinion.

Whew. I really need to play Lunar sometime.

 
The Greatest of the Great.

Hey.

I am about to finish Final Fantasy 10 and am trying to figure out what new game I should buy. I have played FF8, Lunar 1,2, FFtactics. A good plot and character development is a must! I really enjoyed playing the Lunar games and thought something similar might be nice. I'm looking forward to .hack.

I was wondering if you could give me any suggestions and introduce me to some of the "great" rpg's. You know, one's I can't miss. I can't spend to much money though, I'm blowing it all off on anime, love cowboy bebop, its one of the best.

Again, I'm not too familiar with the Lunar games, but if you really like plot and character development in RPGs, I'll have to point you in the direction of Xenogears. The first ten hours drag a little, sure, but the whole game has one heck of a plot even if it does boggle the mind a la Evangelion much later on. Another suggestion would be Suikoden I or II... despite it having, oh, about 108 PLAYABLE characters, it apparantly pulls off that feat rather well - even if Chrono Cross had 45 playable character and failed miserably in that department. Anyway, give either Suikoden a shot sometime. Also, try out Persona 2 if you can, (and I'm going to as well), as it's supposed to have excellent character development. Finally, one of my personal favorites so far is Valkyrie Profile, an Enix/Tri-Ace game based on Norse Mythology.

Okay, now what would me giving out game-buying advice be if I didn't mention the Chrono series? I know I mentioned Chrono Cross earlier, though I wouldn't choose it above too many of my other suggestions for plot and character. If you ever want to check out really old school RPGs, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV-VI, Secret of Mana, and the Breath of Fire series are worth mentioning, though while the plots are among my favorites, they're by no means as epic as, say, Xenogears or FFX.

 
*sigh* Why must fireworks be illegal in our corner of California?

Dear Ms. Maas,

Greeting again from the field. I am currently making sure that any plans for a shortage of fireworks for July 4th will not occur.

Now, you wanted someone to make you a sandwich last week, and I am pretty sure that did not happen. My current recommendation for a good sandwich would probably be Friday's Tuna Salad Wasabi Sandwich. Very good. And remember, you are welcome at my parents digs anytime. Just make sure to notify me. ;)

Now, on a gaming related note, XBox PSO players are getting ripped off, in my opinion. First, playing the Live fee, then a fee to play PSO. Awful, really. Now, if they had gotten the sexy cool Gamecube they would not have to pay the Live fee, get a modem, paid less, and gotten really cool games. It's not like I don't like the XBox, it's a decent system, but right now, the NES has more interesting titles. Your thoughts?

Brazil beat Germany, so that was cool. I still would have liked to see the US get to at least the championship match, that would have done even more for the sport in terms of American popularity.

*Hugs Shinji for good measure

Disengaging connection,

Special Agent Kaworu

Hmm, tuna sandwich, you say? With wasabi, you say? Count me in.

There's lots of things to take into account regarding the GameCube and XBox versions of Phantasy Star Online. Keep in mind that the XBox version is a port of Version 2, and that the game itself comes free with the XBox Live package. Servers are expensive, and Sonic team would probably only get a decent portion of money by charging fees, because chances are they won't get a huge chunk out of the XBox Live sales at all. The GameCube players will be the ones paying the most: Paying for the actual game, a modem, and it should also be noted that the GameCube version won't definitely be without server fees; they just haven't been announced at this point. And chances are, there will be fees.

I didn't even know soccer was all that popular in America. Oh well...

 
Revenge of the Nintendo Fangirl.

Why does Nintendo not show anything new at the game shows?? Because they have nothing new. Nintendo has made about 20 games in total and then redid them all 4 times on different systems. When they do come out with a new game, there's a 90% chance it will suck as much as it possibly can. Then if its good at all, it can't possibly out sell any PS2 game. In short, I have lost all faith in Nintendo. They haven't come out with a decent game in many months, not to mention that it has less RPG's than most any other system! So... that's why.
You should be aware that Nintendo and about 70% of all the other companies out there like to make sequels upon sequels. Some of them are the most godawful, rehashed pieces of crap, and others actually have innovation. Even more have innovation that actually works, impresses, and eventually sells millions of copies. Why do they bring out so many sequels? Because their fans love the characters, the games were successful, fun, fans craved more, and so forth. Yes, even Mario has innovation. So not every Nintendo sequel or rehash has outsold a PS2 game, but that isn't saying much. Britney Spears sells millions of CDs, does that make her music automatically any good? Sales of Nintendo and PS2 games is a BIZARRE comparison, as sales for games for either console can really vary. And when some of their future titles do arrive, you may be surprised. If E3 is any indication, Nintendo's gonna prove pretty damn successful come early 2003. The GameCube's best games haven't even arrived yet, so it's a little premature to say they suck, ne? Do you even wonder why it seems like Nintendo hasn't brought out a really good game (other than SSBM) in forever? Probably because big titles which include names like Mario, Metroid and Zelda are all coming out within six months of each other, and they've been busy working on all those. You know, to please Nintendo fans. Make sure the games are up to Miyamoto's standards and so forth. But you'll probably end up not playing any of them, and missing out. Oh well.

BEWARE THE NINTENDO FANGIRL. The end.

 
I don't like the idea of playing online games. Oh wait... PSO.

Hello,

Today, I'd like to write about why I don't like the idea of Final Fantasy XI being online only. Now, while I do think that some things about it sound pretty cool (communicating and forming parties with other players and whatnot)there are a couple of big reasons why I think the online only idea stinks.

First of all, monthly fees. It just seems stupid to me that you buy a game, and then you HAVE to pay more money every single month to play it. It almost like you're renting the damn thing. Yes, I know it helps keep the servers up blah blah, but still. Couldn't they use the money they get from selling the game to cover the costs? If that's not possible, then why can't it have some sort of offline mode, that you could play by you're self in case you don't WANT to pay for their servers? Maybe it's just me, but it sounds like Square's being just a little bit greedy.

The other thing I have a problem with is that online games do not stay online forever (I think I read that someone from Square [can't remember who] said they expect FFXI to stay online for 5 Years). I don't if I can speak for every body but, I like to replay old classic games every now and then (like FFVI or whatever else). What will I do if, like, 8 years from now I feel like playing FFXI again, huh? It's funny no one else has really mentioned this.

Anyway, those are my reasons (I would've done one of the topics but,I had to get this out of my system). And now I will say, good bye..for now.

Ryngar

If I was to be interested in any online game, I'd want it to have an offline mode. Bless PSO for having an offline mode, which, is not only HARDER offline, but you can also sometimes find more rare weapons and items, and level up without having your ISP tied up for hours and hours. Then again, Square is putting every single thing on the server side, which would make sense for it to be online only. Still, it can be a pretty bad move... and probably didn't help FFXI's Japanese sales any.

As for monthly fees, if you are already an online gamer, or at least keep up somewhat on online gaming news, you'll know that server fees are nothing new. Usually, they're rather cheap, like 5-10 bucks a month, and the character fees aren't that expensive either - a dollar or so a month. With everything being server-side, everything's bound to get really expensive in terms of server maintenance and so forth, so Square'd need the money, really. Of course, with FFXI's costs all adding up, it had better be worth it for anyone who actually decides to spend that much. With the costs of the game, modem, network adaptor, monthly server and character fees, all just to play FFXI, that's bound to hurt a lot of pocketbooks.

Not that I plan to play FFXI... at all at this point, but I think a lot of people buy online games, aware they won't be playable 8-10 or more years later. They're not meant to, unlike FFVI, be replayable in that way... and hey, that's fine by me. But unlike FFXI, a lot of online games CAN be replayable a long time away, with that lovely offline mode we call Offline Mode. Square's made some bad decisions regarding FFXI, but I hope it ends up successful for their sake, and that they've worked out all the problems the Japanese release had before its November US release date.

Me, I'll be perfectly happy with Kingdom Hearts...

 
The offline online RPG everyone wants.

Hello Ms. Liz,

I was just wondering, does .hack have an official webpage? I think I am screwed, but I went to Bandai, and all I saw floating around, were Power Rangers. I always wanted to be the yellow one. Anyways, also..... do you know if they are going to releasing Seiken Densetsu 3 over here...or is it already released....either way I don't know about it. Yeah, also...there is one more thing.....I am a lamb that would not like to be sacrificed...so I so eagerly e-mail a bunch. But, other than sacrificing me, you can have me with dinner, wine, or whatever beer of your liking. Good'ay.

-Julia

Indeed, as any other hyped up RPG, .hack does have a site, and it can be found here. And if that isn't enough for you, there's a bit of info on Bandai's own site here. The latter has more info on the .hack/sign anime, which is still related to the game, though not quite so directly. I never did like the Power Rangers. :P

Seiken Densetsu 3 was passed over for release back in 1995, and instead they gave us... Secret of Evermore. Whoo. In any case, technically, SD3 could probably be done on the GBA and released here, but nothing's been announced, so don't hold your breath.

Wine and beer suck. Go for the Smirnoff.

 
Closing Thoughts

It sure took long enough for me to finish my update. Now, I must go feed people - er, -lambs- to Deus now, so if you'll excuse me. After that, I should go back and play more Link's Awakening. On my pretty platinum GBA. By the way, I can't exactly think of a topic for next week (or maybe I'm just being lazy) so if any of you are nice enough to suggest one, well, go ahead. Right, so I'm going to see Men in Black II tomorrow... so envy me, willya? Thanks.

~ Liz, the ever feisty one. (letters@rpgfan.com)



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