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Aa, sou desu.
Friday, July 12, 2002

I really can't think of anything to rant about today, but I am curious as to how many of you actually know that the Unlimited Saga and Chrono Break named have been copyrighted by Square for months. So, did the news of the Unlimited Saga game surprise you at all? Inspiration for a new topic next week, yes. I personally thing the game looks like a nicer Saga Frontier 1, though... I hated that game. Rumor has it that Square has a couple of more untitled RPGs in development, and seeing that Chrono Break was registered at the same time as the U:S name was, then I'm quite hoping to hear an announcement. And I'll be pretty damn excited whenever it's announced. Come on Square, we know it's coming. Don't keep us waiting any longer.

Whoo, letters time. Lengthy ones, too.

...Letters, you perverts.

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
Mmm, exploring other planet...

Hi Liz,

I found a minor flaw (at least I think it's a flaw) in most RPGs and I wanna find out what's up with it. The world maps don't make sense. They can't exist in a three-dimensional world. I assume that along the top side of the map is the north pole but in games somehow when you pass the north pole you end up right at the south pole! I don't get why it's like this...have the game designers noticed this too or would it be too confusing to actually make the world a sphere?

Alright, now to the topic. I agree with Dezo completely most recent games are easier than older games. Of course there are a few exceptions but the majority are easier. In addition to what Dezo said, I think that current games often allow the player more life in trying to beat a game. In Mario the original one hit to Mario without the mushroom or flower and he was dead and there was only three continues, while in Mario 64 you have eight health bars and infinite continues. This was true of the early RPGs that I have played. In both Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior you started out with very little life compared to many of the more recent RPGs. The difference between 30 HP (around how much a character in Final Fantasy starts off) and 300 HP (around how much Cloud starts of with in Final Fantasy VII) is huge. Even if enemies do deal more damage in the latter much more is needed to reach the same percentage of damage as that of the first.

In older RPGs, training was much more difficult than in recent RPGs. It might have been to save space or something but the amount of experience needed to level up almost doubled everytime you gained a level in games like Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy so the enemies in one area would become obsolete for training in a short time while the next area could still be quite difficult. Training is simple and quick in many of the recent RPGs like Final Fantasy VII, Wild Arms, and Lunar. In Thousand Arms, even characters that aren't in the battle party gain experience for fights.

Last point I have is that older RPGs and some adventures often lacked clear direction unlike today's games. So maybe the more difficult a game doesn't always make it more difficult. Anyways the first Zelda didn't give any directions to where you're supposed to go so you could take a long time figuring which dugeons you're supposed to enter in which order and that could take a lot of time and continues. This was the same for Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior, the area to go to next wasn't always very clear. When I played Metroid I often got confused on where I was supposed to head to (though i admit for this game i didn't play too much...).

From what I've seen most games have been getting easier and easier which isn't always a bad thing like more complete direction, but if games keep following this trend it will take out all the challenge in many games. That's somewhere we don't want to go.

Yikes, looks like I wrote a long one!

ChaoJiZhuShu

I guess the game designers are too lazy to program the world maps as they really should be, but I always found it as pretty strange, myself. I first noticed it in Chrono Trigger, while flying around and looking for the Sun Keep. I guess it's not a big negative thing or a big deal, but it's just so weird... Unless, the top of the map is supposed to be the equator, and the bottom meets the other side of the equator, then maybe it would make sense... but you still have to deal with the fact that the world is round, and this is getting way too confusing.

That was just one reason Mario was so hard. Two hits and you die, plus with limited movement and other things, like it having a very rigid feel didn't help much either. Of course, if you were good at those games, they were also relatively short. Whereas when the gameplay is easier, the games overall seem to take longer to complete. An even worse comparison of how your stats start off RPG-wise might be Final Fantasy X and Super Mario RPG. I believe you started out with 10 HP in the latter, and about 3-400 HP in Final Fantasy X. Not only that, but you get HP+200 sphere nodes practically right away.

Though I already discussed levelling up and experience points last time, I'll say it again - I'm either a masochist or I just plain like challenges. I think the required EXP between levels should get higher, faster. AP between Sphere levels? Too little, or didn't go up high enough or fast enough. If this was the case, I wouldn't have completed the Grid - twice - with Yuna at this point.

I think that one of the points of not giving a clear direction in earlier games, was to give the game an element of exploration, especially the Metroid games. Granted, the first Metroid was just super hard anyway, and I gave up after fifteen minutes. I like exploring anyway, you'd get levels up just because you didn't know where to go!

 
The dark side of FFVII - or not.

Hi Schala,

I was mindlessly flipping around, dozing in and out of consciousness after I had just beaten FFIX. I wept at the ending... truly beautiful. Too bad it was much too easy at parts and the ATB, while fast-paced, offers no real strategy. Well, given that life after FFIX has no meaning, until I start my next RPG (remember that email I sent you on the list of all the RPGs I had to beat?), which is either Vagrant Story or Arc the Lad. By the way, what's the usual time to beat Vagrant Story? Anyway, on CBS I literally shat my pants. There was FFVII, one of my favorite games (by no means the best, however) and obviously revered throughout most of mankind... well, for those who haven't played FFVI, that is. Needless to say, I still love VII with all my heart and when I saw it on TV I was surprised. Then a lawyer comes forth and said that while some boys were playing FFVII, it helped them to murder their sister... or whatever the problem was. Why, you ask? According to the lawyer, the object of the game was to destroy the enemy by death. Well, of course that's part of it, but it enraged me to think that they hadn't the slightest bit of knowledge regarding the story and characters. Nothing. Of course its the mainstream press. Eh, I don't want to get into this damn argument.... But really, I just wanted to say "Fuck you," put on the FMV where Sephiroth takes the mask off of Jenova at the reactor in Nibelheim and immerse myself into that epic. Damn it all.

Ah, another case of a recent RPG being dubbed as easy. I guess I should play FFIX and judge for myself one of these days, but Zelda's simply all the more interesting to me at the moment. I'd suggest you start on Vagrant Story, just because it's supposed to have a pretty good story. Interesting combat system as well. Plus, I haven't exactly played Arc yet, and might not for a while. Not that I'm sure how long it would take on average to beat VS, but my guess it about 50 or so hours.

Eh, blaming video games for things like that is getting pretty old. Just how young were these kids? If I'm not mistaken a lot of the FF games are rated Teen, and they still made the decision to kill this sister, the game didn't make that decision for them. Bleh, I've argued against this kind of thing so many times I don't know what to say anymore. Some people just don't get it.

 
Yeah...

Hey Liz Ha! you got more burnt then me you will be peeling forever. My back got toasted from surfing. Moisterizer and water is the best solution for peeling and you will be tanning in no time, trust me. Anyway, a good topic. What is with those stupid company names. Squaresoft, square means lame. Is that Final Fantasy XI, or Final Fantasy VIII, ( Couldn't help it. ) oh, wait that is Final Fantasy Mystic Quest( It mine more crap as well). This may not be RPG but what the hell kind of name is FromSoftware, I do not care if it is from your software. Sunsoft is a stupid a real dumb one two (they published those Legend games that are Mana, I think.) the massacot is a bat. Bats like darkness. And then we have Microsoft, it should be Largehard . Micro is not what there stuff is and same is saying their equipment hardness. Let's see how soft Bill gates when getting punche, wait let's throw apples at him. This my first letter, I just don't feel like writing things, but I had to let this one out.

Guy

Throwing apples at Bill Gates would be quite ironic. Anyway, I don't get half of your rambling... except maybe the From Software bit. I dunno, maybe they ran out of names. Oh and uh, the Seiken Densetsu (Mana) series was from SquareSoft... not SunSoft. The US branch of SunSoft is no more, in fact. I think that's all I have to say about that. Er, next letter, please?
 
Thou must... get a PS2.

Hi there,

You know, I have been visiting this site for so long, and even contributed a review, but I have yet to write in to the letters column. Guess it's overdue.

Anyway, RPGs do seem to be getting easier, I mean I have a hard time remembering actually getting a Game Over screen on most of the PS RPGs I've played (have yet to get enough money for a PS2). I must say that there are occasionally a few hard ones in between. Definitely Xenogears has some rather frustrating points. More recently I have to say Arc 2 from Arc the Lad Collection. Overall Arc 2 wasn't that hard, but that last boss, ugh, 9999 HP for his second form and yet only averaging about 150 damage per round your supplies and MP can start to dwindle rather quickly. I did eventually beat it, after about 2 hours of battling on my last try. I'll have to write a review for ATLC once I finish.

In the end however, I don't mind too much the ease of difficulty, I care more for the story.

Xeno

I get GameOvers because I suck. Actually, I don't get them anymore in RPGs unless I go up against a boss I know I won't kill but decide to be foolish and try anyway. If anything I'll just get lost, wander around for 45 minutes after discovering I'm lost then turn off the damn game. I've heard quite a few times that Arc the Lad is pretty hard sometimes, but is it actually harder than Xenogears? Funny thing too, I've never actually thought about how difficult Xenogears is until I started getting responses to my topic. Which also reminds me, I also care more for story, which is why I haven't complained all that much about FFX being easy - I don't mind at all, because it keeps the story flowing. Reminds me of a letter I got last time...
 
I'm going to make Parn change that to your board title.

Dear Ms. Maas,

I'd like to respond to your topic on the difficulty of current RPGs. The straight answer? Yes. RPGs now are far easier than those from days gone by. However, as one of your other readers posted, the games that value character development and story over gameplay are the easy games. Take Phantasy Star 2, for example. That game is nigh impossible. However, there is less emphasis on story and character development than there is on combat. Opposite case for Phantasy Star 4, there's a story and character emphasis, so the game isn't quite so difficult. Another thing that may make current RPGs easier is the use of formulas based on level to calculate a boss's stats. After all, in Dragon Quest, if you wanted to kill that boss, you had to level your dumb ass up until you could kill him. Some may also consider earlier RPGs easier because of their usage of leveling up. If you died to a boss, you never needed to learn new strategy, you just had to level yourself up to kill him. Not so with many current RPGs. Take my earlier example, Phantasy Star 4 (Yeah, it's kinda current), You couldn't beat Zio without using the Psycho Wand. Level up all you want, you'll still do 1 damage to him. So, there. Remember, Mac fans, Fallout 1 & 2 is coming out for your OSX, and the preview should be done by the time you read this!

-John McCarroll

RPGFan Staff Dumbass

Well, the boss stats thing does make a lot of sense. You definitely don't want a boss to be too easy. I wish Final Fantasy X was that way, though, because killing a final boss in one hit IS JUST NOT RIGHT AT ALL. I prefer bosses to actually have some strategy though, so you'll have to think other than attack and heal... Still, it doesn't make older RPGs all that much easier.

Fallout? Eh, I think I'm good for now...

 
Lovaga!

Dear RPGFan,

Hello its me again. I recently read a letter sent to your site regarding the subject of RPGs and how "easy" the newer ones seem to be becoming. I have to agree that a few have been a little less challenging than some of the older games. However, not all of them are so easy as to completely forget about playing them or bash them altogether. Take FF6 for example. To me this was a game that had it all. Great Story, Great Characters, Incredible Music, Innovative Battle System, and most importantly a great challenge well worth your efforts. Now I've heard some people say that they felt FF6-X were just too easy. I have to disagree. This is where I raise the question whether or not gaming companies are slacking off, or gamers in general are just beginning to become so experienced that any game offering a challenge is quickly beaten due to obsessive playing, and leveling up, and then refered to as "too easy" or "not worth the money".

I also have to agree that some of the earlier games, such as Chrono Trigger, FF4, Lufia 2, BOF2 and 3, Xenogears, LunarSSSC, and Lunar EBC were some of the best games ever made. These games offered a challenege even if you decided to build up levels for hours on end. I particularly loved Lunar's system where even if you leveled up ALex to lvl 50, the bosses of the game still were always levels ahead, thus preventing fast and boring boss fights. It is my belief that the games of old were the true gems of RPGs and until developers see that they dont have to cram in great graphics to make a solid game, some of the newer RPGs are in fact going to provide less of a challenge than the older RPGs where real work was put into every aspect. It is also my belief among others that a great plot and interesting characters is what keeps gamers coming back to their systems for more. Graphics will only impress for so long but a great story really brings one into the game. This is true for both the Lunars. Although their graphics were called "outdated" and "pitiful", the stories and great character development throughout the games made them some of the most popular RPGs ever made. In conclusion, I would like to state that I have very high hopes for RPG companies in the years to come. Mistakes aside, we have been left with some very good RPGs these past few years and one can only look towards the future and have faith that as the years go by, RPGs will become increasingly innovative and provide gamers with a wonderful trip away from reality into the realm of fantasy. Thank you for your time and keep up the work on this marvelous site.

Sincerely,
ExpertGamer30134@aol.com

I've never actually heard of people saying that FFVI was easy, but X? Heh, all the time. VI is one of my favorites because it's rather well balanced, not too easy, the story's not too thin, and the battle system is fun. Though the Esper system can make learning magic too easy, but it's still not easy compared to other magic systems of FF lore. Instead of slacking off though, game companies are rather concentrating on enhancing the story, graphics and music of a game. To me, just because a game is easy doesn't mean it's not worth the money. It has to pretty much suck overall.

I heard that Lunar 2's final boss was too hard sometimes, as in too far ahead of your level. I guess it's a good thing I don't plan on playing it anytime soon, though other than this case, I like the idea of bosses remaining at a higher level than you. Of course, if the battle system is boring, horrid or just plain repetitive, the story has to be really impressive to keep me interested. I have found some rather epic stories from playing RPGs - need I mention Xenogears again? I like that a lot of games are trying to do something different with their stories rather than cliche plots... but then, the cliche plots will always lurk somewhere among us.

 
La la la, more quickies.

Hi Schala

Why do people draw spells in FFVIII? It's easier and less time consuming to teach the GF's the ability to transform items into spells.

By the way, is the Evangelion manga the same as the animated series or does it have more story? I saw it at a video store in the mall for $16. The series left me with many questions unanswered.

Bye. Hugo Perez

- fighting as a Zora Link is more fun than fighting as plain ol' Link -

I don't know, actually. Drawing can be easier as you can get a LOT of spells from one battle, I suppose. Plus, you need to stock up on a lot of spells to distribute among characters, right?

The EVA manga does follow the anime's storyline, but in more detail, such as there being an entire chapter on Misato's party and what goes on there. (No no, nothing bad or dirty.) There are also a few things changed ever so slightly, such as a certain thing that happens in the anime episode 18 -all I'll say is that in the manga Shinji already knew.

Hi,

Dental Floss is cool, especially when it's cinnamon flavored. Mmmmm, cinnamon... *drools*.

Love,
Jimbob Ferdinand Antwain the Ninja

I like the mint ones better. Is it available in chocolate too?
Sheesh Liz. If ya would've asked, I could've sent you my Valkyrie Profile Guide. Unfortunately for you, I sold it on Ebay a few weeks ago. =P

DayenKnight

I guess I should have picked up VP and played it earlier, ne?
sweet! its pounda pint nite at the junction, hopefully i'll be sober by sunday, err bye

Matt D

Okay, bye. Pick me up some Skyy Blue, willya?
 
Closing Thoughts

Good news! My sunburn is almost gone! Meaning... I can go out and tan again without being burnt this time! Well, not tomorrow, anyway. Tomorrow we're going to see that movie Reign of Fire. You know, that movie in which dragons (or is it A dragon?) get loose in the modern day world. In any case, it's pretty late here and I must part ways with you until next week.

~ Liz, who missed out on free slurpees today at 7-11 on 7/11. Get it? (letters@rpgfan.com)



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