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You Got Marin!
Monday, July 8, 2002

Well, damn. It hurts to sit down, because I'm bright red (better known as sunburnt) all over. Eh, guess that's what I get for sitting out in the sun for 4 hours. At least it was fun though, having access to the neighbor's pool and all, I'm going to have a nice tan very soon. Oh yes.

Still playing Link's Awakening, and finding the Catfish's Maw just a bit of a challenge. I just got the Hook Shot (finally) but haven't turned the game back on since... so far, I'm loving this game, even if it... you know, doesn't let you save unless you die and it lets you save and continue. You see, in the original Link's Awakening, to save you simply had to press Start and Select at the same time. Try that with a GBA, and it doesn't work. Try random button combinations... now, unless it's saving my game and just not telling me, this is just retarded. Oh well, I have no problem dying...

I suppose it should also be mentioned that Link's Awakening was the inspiration for my title today. Now, I'm sure most of you know how Link holds an item above his head whenever he gets one, and that funky music plays for a few seconds as text appears: "You Got [item]!". In this one point in the game, you need to find Marin, some girl who loves to sing, and convince her to come with you and sing so that a huge sleeping walrus would wake up and let you pass through to the desert. Once you convince her to go with you, Link holds her above his head, with the text 'You got Marin!" appearing - as if she was just another item. I couldn't help but crack up laughing for a couple of minutes.

Oh right, I've got some letters too.

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
Hey, some things can slip my mind every once in a while.

Ah.. they [Square], unfortunately, nixed the November [FFXI] release date... now it's Like.. early 2003 (which i find hard to believe. Since this game will be expensive, they SHOULD push for a before Xmas release date and just patch the rest.) But that's not what i just emailed you about.. you said FFXI made some bad choices.. just wondering what you thought were those bad choices? Was it the Side Server Saves (I think that's a good idea. eliminates alot of cheating) or was it no offline mode (which eliminates the ability to side server save)? I think one of their very VERY bad choices is the possibility of not using the HDD for FFXI US version. I hope that's just a rumor, because that would cause the downfall of FFXI easily. (sure, it would cost us $80-100 less, but then i don't know if you could do side-server-saves, and even if yoou could, there would be no patches or updates to fix things like bugs, cheats, etc). I seriously hope they aren't recoding FFXi to be used without it...
Right... somehow, the delay slipped my mind - probably because of my personal lack of interest in the game. Though in the interest of Square, I'd rather not see them rush FFXI and have a really bad launch like the game's Japanese launch. I'd like to see FFXI be successful for their sake, though in Japan, so far it's not. Which is why they should take the time to make sure the launch goes a lot better and with far less problems than the Japanese one has had. Actually, the side server saving is WHY you can't play the game offline, so as an entirety, it is partly a bad choice, though since it's to eliminate cheating, it's also a plus. As far as the HDD in North America is concerned... that may actually not be Square's fault. When we interviewed Sony at E3, they said there were no plans to release the HDD here... for now. Though they may change their mind in the future, but that's yet to be shown. Which is a very bad idea, considering that FFXI is a huge game and would run like utter, complete crap without it - Japanese players have to install the entire thing onto their HDDs. When we talked to Square, also at E3, at the time they weren't sure what to do about this little problem, so I'm guessing Sony had told them fairly recently at the time. I imagine this was a huge factor in FFXI's North American delay alongside all the server problems.
 
Breath of... man-meat?! Ewwwww...

Am I like THE only person who thinks Breath of Fire IV blew hella man-meat, and that BoF III was actually superior to it (and a REALLY FUN GAME)? I'm sorry, but I enjoyed the hell out of 3. Yeah, Cowboy Bebop's a great show, watch it every week (can't wait til Saturday, "Mushroom Samba"). Good job on recommending Xenogears. Every person reading this who owns a PS should go buy it. NOW. "MAD SKILLZ," *snicker*, man, that was funny. I guess that's it for now.
Bah. Mushroom Samba seems to be everyone's favorite CB episode. Why not, with all the weird things the characters end up doing after taking those mushrooms (especially Ein)? I recommend Xenogears to everyone, really. It's my job... really, it is!

It's pretty sad when I don't actually know many people who's played BoFIV... though the few who do actually like it a lot, more than III, even. I haven't played either, but living with someone who's currently playing through IV, it sounds like a neat game. Er, so does the rest of the series, for that matter, despite II's awful translation...

 
Mmm, more #fret gibberish.

TEH LIZ~

Damn, I missed the #fretter column. But here I have a viable letter to axe you special column or no! With all the stuff coming out for Gamecube soon, it's looking to be a better and better idea to get one. But all zese games coming out, zey are not ze Arr Pee Gee! Zey are ze axion and ze platformair! Vut kinds of ze Arr Pee Gee are on the horizon for Gamecube, making it vorth ze vile to get one!

Vy am I talking like zis! I must be, 'ow you say, ze Crazy! :o

So long and thanks for all the fish,
Ashfield

Seems like everyone's changing their mind for the better these days, and for good reason. I shall soon persuade you all to buy a GC and Metroid. Ph33r m3.

RPGs, you say? If you're into fighting using cards, then Lost Kingdoms might appeal to you. Otherwise, Zelda, a sort of-RPG, is out next year (*weep weep*), not to mention Phantasy Star Online, the Skies of Arcadia port, and a couple of Namco RPGs, such as a Tales title. For a complete list of GC RPGs, check them out here. I'm interested in quite a few of them, obviously. Though none can beat out Metroid. Bwa.

 
The toughest of the tough.

Greetings Schala,

Cool topic you picked out. It's one I've been mulling over for years. Have RPGs gotten easier over the years? I'd have to say yes. Of course both the game and the gamer could factor into the newfound RPG ease.

On the one hand, perhaps RPGs have gotten easier for many of us because we've played so many of them over the years. Final Fantasy 7 is most definitely harder for a first time RPGer than for one who has been playing RPGs since the days of Dragon Warrior or Phantasy Star. Practice makes perfect, no? The more you do something the better you get.

On the other hand, RPGs themselves perhaps have gotten easier. For example, if I were to go back and play Phantasy Star 2, it would *still* kick my ass as much as it did when I first played it years ago. It was one of the hardest RPGs I've ever played and still is. There is then no denying that many RPGs of yore were more punishing.

Or perhaps it's not so much that RPGs have gotten easier but gameplay balance has improved. I remember many 8-bit games (in all genres) being cheaply difficult because back then programmers were probably still trying to get a handle on optimal difficulty balance. I definitely noticed that many of my Genesis games were less punishing and easier than many of my 8-bit games. Still in many cases, difficulty often came at the price of cheapness. Walking the fine line between difficult and cheap is not easy.

On the other hand, perhaps gameplay balance is devolving. In some recent RPGs, there isn't much of a strategy to boss fights. Hit with your strongest attacks, heal, hack, heal, repeat. I've played RPGs like Thousand Arms and Grandia 2 where the battles were all 'gimme' battles and victories were handed to me on a silver platter- and bear in mind I am a VERY VERY sloppy strategist and never once was I penalized for my sloppy fighting. It was too easy for me to snap my party back to full strength and then kick some serious ass. In Grandia 2 I actually tried to get a game over once and it actually took MORE effort for me to get a game over than to kill the last boss. It's like I was saying, "kill me, kill me, I'm wiiiiide open" and this big evil boss politely kept avoiding me so I could heal up and kick his ass.

I hate to bring up Persona 2: Eternal Punishment yet again, but after having played a bunch of PlayStation generation RPGs and beating them rather easily, that game came along back in December 2000 and actually gave me a fight. It was optimally challenging. The game is no pushover but isn't difficult to the point of frustration either.

And you know what one of the biggest complaints I hear about that game is? Boss battles are too hard. Nonsense- the boss battles are challenging, yes, but if you strategize properly it's smooth going. So many people complained that the Joker Noriko battle near the start was insanely tough. Let's see...Noriko is a water elemental, water's opposing element is fire, so with some heavy hitting fire personae, she falls easily. In other words, if you use your brain and keep your wits about you, the fights will go more smoothly. Mindless hack-and-heal is not always a prudent approach.

Anyway, I'll quit while I'm ahead before I start rambling on and on and on to the point where I make even less sense. But my final verdict is that RPGs are getting easier. Whether it's self-improvement or recentered difficulty balances skewed easier, many newer RPGs aren't giving me the challenge that the older ones did. But sometimes there may be surprises like Persona 2: EP- a fairly recent RPG that is actually challenging, but not cheaply so and well balanced.

The Dezo

Funny thing about FFVII... though I'd only started playing RPGs a couple of years before, only a couple of parts in FFVII were actually quite difficult. FFX is even more ridiculously easy, I didn't die until about 50 hours in at Yunalesca and that was because I didn't know about the Zombie/Death thing. I found Xenogears to be quite hard, especially several bosses and some of the required jumping was also a pain.

You do have a point about the gameplay elements evolving and becoming more well-balanced, though. In some games, it was a lack of certain things that may have made a game so hard.. you know, like SAVE FEATURES. *ahem* And the point about developers back then still new to things is also quite valid, I hadn't actually thought of that. Not that I don't enjoy a challenge, but it's true that those of us who started out earlier with the tougher games probably fare better or more easily with today's, in part.

As far as bosses that require strategy, I'm sure that those who actually complaining about them being hard are those who are just used to bosses who can be just hacked away at, without any real strategy, and with a lot of today's RPGs, that's probably pretty common. Coming up with a strategy can't be that hard, after you've died a few times, you should be noticing a boss' pattern... or leaving to level up some more if you just can't do it.

Though since recently, when we got out the ol' NES out again, we kind of noticed just HOW hard older games are. Metroid? Pfff, it's a pain. Die and you come back with 30 energy and no full tanks. Mario? Try the first one without warping. I bet you can't do it. It's the hardest Mario I ever played. Hell, Pitfall for the Atari was really hard as far as I remember. That doesn't mean all games are easier these days, but being able to save sure feels like they're easier. Though these days, a lot of games, like Metal Gear Solid, come with a choice of difficulty levels, and I think a lot of games should have that option - especially if they throw in a high difficulty setting. I always wuss out and choose a normal or moderately easy setting. Meh...

And damn it Dezo, if you mention Persona 2 again, I'm going to... perhaps finally play it. :P

 
I have no words for this one...

Dear Liz-er-a-tor (may I put it in syllables)

I visited that .hack website. It was all good, except for the short music that was played over and ove rand OVER, and OVER---- Anyways.....so you STOLE Mike's picture....(Mike, Mr.Mike, Mikester) I didn't think you were a "thief." Oh well, :::;zips up pockets and puts money in shoes:::.....wait....I have no money......*sigh* I love the human imagination. Anyways, to get to the subject, I was just wondering....there's this guy, joined to the website.........and, ........<> I think he's cute! No, wait...to the true topic, if I go to like...the mall down here, that has a Babbages, and put the games I plan on having within October and November, which I am trying to budget for ( Legaia: Duel Saga, .hack, and Suikoden III) ...would I get that 5 track Musical Score Cd, for each one? I remember getting one for Legend of Mana...but., the 5 track Cd, puts me on hold, before I buy any full track Cds, you know what I mean? ---heh--guess not. YOU HAVE WAY MORE MONEY THAN ME! *Sigh* I WANT .hack so bad! Also, there was a rumor on PlayOnline.com, that the main character for FF12 was a girl----is that true....also, if it is a girl, the storyline, might as well be better than FF3...and FF10, was.......I wouldn't play it again........I would get bored with the Sphere Grid, and stuff....being all of what I did ealier...and..and..and. I HATE YUNA! THAT SAPPY GIRL WHO WASTED DIALOGUE! AERIS IS BETTER!! she is great in battle though...I'm sure she hates me too...it's all mutual love here!

*Julia* -the girl who still has no screen name---dang, I wanna be on the message boards so bad-

I personally say you should go for .hack and Suikoden III, (especially if you played the first two) more than Legaia Duel Saga. I really don't know at all bout FFXII's story so, no comment there.

...you liked Aeris better than Yuna? I honestly didn't like any FFVII character, except for Red XIII. I liked Yuna, though if she had a better voice actress, I would have liked her more. And maybe if her hair moved in the in-game graphics... if they can make Lulu's hair move, they could make Yuna's move. I also liked the Sphere Grid a lot, I've maxed Yuna out and am doing so with, well, everyone else... It's some odd fun, I tell you.

By the way, try logging into the boards as the screen name and password you had asked for. Parn says you're registered. :P

 
FFXI does have some love.

Eh... well some say that im a bit obssesed.. but well thats them. I don't care what they say i wanna play Final Fantasy XI as soon as possible so i have one question and one question only: WhErE CaN I BeCoMe A StUpId FFXI BeTa TeStOr!?!? It's driving me insane.. i can't find any link or lead that will allow me to -_-''' its really depressing. Im only hoping that they.. uh.. well that they still have room at this time for testors heh. But oh well.

Thanks for you help

Tidus

Somehow, I doubt that they have enough beta testers already, but just in case they don't, here's the requirements and sign up page. Good luck though it's all in Japanese. And once again, our news story which has a brief summary of the requirements in a language you can probably read better.

At least someone's eager for FFXI.

 
Lots and lots of random quickies this time.

You like Cowboy Bebop? Check out Hellsing!!! Anime-series of the year!
Hmm, are these two animes that similar, or...?
Cowboy Bebop rules! Nintendo canceling SW? What more could they possible show--DUH! Has anyone played Eternal Darkness yet? Uh, can you say GAME_OF_THE_YEAR!!!

Anyway, I'm going back to stalking this auction: Final Fantasy 7 factory sealed, yummy! Breaks open his piggy bank..cuz' he's never played it yet.

-MushroomSamba

Hey, don't be declaring anything game of the year until the years ends! Who knows, you might like better games. Like... no, I can't say it. Nintendo did show everything off at E3 - I'm glad I went then.

Factory sealed FFVII? Talk to me when you find a factory sealed Super Metroid...

make you a sandwich? im still waiting for me cuppa tea love
No chance in hell from me. Go ask someone else.
i swear, if i hear anyone call FOOTBALL (yes its football) soccer once more im gonna lose it

Matt D

Being that I've always lived in North America, I've only known it as soccer and I'll call it soccer all I want. So quit whining and telling me I'm wrong, ya? :P
Dude,

The Powerpuff Girls are fuckin AMAZING.

Love,
Jimbob Ferdinand Antwain the Ninja

The scary thing is, we are going to see this movie actually. Don't laugh! I find them amusing.
Hi

im a great fan of panzer dragoon and well want to get panzer dragoon orta soon. But im having difficulty finding panzer dragoon azel in english version. Do you think you can help? I need it bad to order over the net.

pleeeeeze help
thanx
sarah

The English version of Panzer Dragoon Azel is actually called Panzer Dragoon Saga, which will actually be really hard to find, and even if you did find it on eBay, it sells for a lot. Used copies go for over $100, and new ones for $150 or more. Since it's out of print, you won't be able to find it at any online store, at least not for anything less than that.
 
Closing Thoughts

After reading and replying to Dezo's letter, I'm curious and want to hear more opinions on my posted topic. And as always, you don't have to write in about that. I can't promise I'll be any less sunburnt next time, as I'm trying to get a decent tan here by the end of the month. Maybe a new hair color too, but that's a discussion for another time and another place. And before I go, I will ask again: Have any of you played Fire Emblem: The Sealed Sword? Tell me how it is.

~ Liz, bright and cheery-err, cherry-like. (letters@rpgfan.com)



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