Hella Good
Friday, November 1, 2002

A bit of a delay since the last update, but busy work weeks can really tire you out. I think I need to go into recovery mode or something. Or get some sugar into my system... maybe some caffeine too.

Do any of you really think that to use cel-shading, developers need a reason to use it in a game's graphics engine? People whine that it works for the GameCube Zelda, Klonoa and a couple of other examples that escape my mind at the moment, yet it's apparently lame/useless/pointless for it to be in games like Wild Arms 3. I don't see why they need a real reason to use cel-shading, other than to make the graphics look different or nicer.

Any thoughts? I'm too lazy to put that in the topic. Oh, and is anybody willing to buy me Suikoden III? My wallet doesn't stretch past that hefty price tag...

Anyway, onward for more FFX-2 discussion. Whee.

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RPG Elements: So it begins.

Hello, first time writer. A quick comment on the official subject for the week: I didn't love or hate Yuna. I liked Rikku better, which puts me in the minority from what I understand, but that doesn't mean I didn't like Yuna. I just liked Rikku because I liked her personality better. I'm not sure what I'll think about Yuna's "makeover," but it makes some sense, as she's probably leaving the church behind, and embracing her Al Bhed heritage, what with the use of technology and all (hence the guns). I'm not really bothered by any of it.

Now on to what I wanted to write about. I've been playing a lot of Morrowind lately, and it got me thinking about RPGs, and how Morrowind is a very different game from Final Fantasy X, which is a very different game from Baldur's Gate. Basically, from what I can see, it boils to what the focus is. In Final Fantasy X, the focus seems to be on Yuna and Tidus. Those two characters drive everything about the game. In Morrowind, however, the focus is the game world itself. Yes, there's an overarching story, but the real "star" of the game is the island of Morrowind, its inhabitants, their cultures, and the flora and fauna. The setting is the focus. Then in Baldur's Gate the focus, from what I could see, is really the story. It's not the characters, it's not the world, but the actual story itself.

Someone might argue that FFX's story drives the game, not the characters, and they may be right. I'm trying to figure this all out in my head right now, and I readily admit I could be wrong about some of it, but I really see Yuna and Tidus as FFX's main focus. Not really the story, but the characters themselves.

You might think that I'm driving towards saying that one form is better than the others. I don't believe that, however. I like the different styles, and see strengths and weaknesses in each. In fact, I think I can appreciate a game like Morrowind a lot more after playing games like Lunar: Silver Star Story or Final Fantasy X, because, while they're both "RPGs," they are really quite different in approach, so the games still feel fresh. I learned this lesson when I played Grandia 2 immediately after playing the first Grandia game, which was a mistake, as the similarities bored me. In fact, I stopped playing Grandia 2 for about a month in the middle of it because I just had to play something else. I should have played something different in between the two to help keep the experience fresh.

So I really see the RPG category as having a number of distinct subcategories: story-focused RPG, character-focused RPG, and world-focused RPG. This doesn't include the tactical RPG and action RPG categories, as I am not ready to include them in my cosmology; Diablo (and Diablo II) and Front Mission 3 just didn't feel like RPGs to me. Maybe this would make an interesting topic for discussion. Feel free to pick at my theory to your heart's content.

Aaron W. Thorne

I liked Rikku a lot as well. A lot of people like to describe her as just a teenager on a sugar rush, but she was cool damnit. ;P As for Yuna, I'd forgotten to take into consideration the whole Yevon thing... (bah, it's been months since I beat FFX!), and that's a rather valid point. Again, I doubt that kind of thing would trigger that drastic of a change in Yuna, but stranger things have happened.

I think that any of those examples of a game's focus could work if done correctly. A focus on the world itself seems to be common among PC RPGs, and the main character focus seems to be more popular with console RPGs. One form is definitely not better than any other, but some are likely to prefer a certain focus. It's more of a matter of... which is executed well and makes the game tick like it's supposed to? Playing a lot of games in a row with too many similarities would get boring... who the heck plays games of only one genre/style, anyway? Definitely not in Japan, they have kinds of games that wouldn't even sell ten copies here. I myself tend to bounce back and forth between action/adventure and RPG, and some puzzles and Bemani games in between. Just keep those frickin' sports games away from me.

Now, I don't know about all strategy RPGs as a whole, but the focus in (dare I mention it again) Fire Emblem seems to be the entire character cast as a whole... as well as the villains. Not just the Lord, or the main bad guy, but the rather large cast as a whole, and that seems to be one of the reasons the series is so popular. Characters, and couplings. (No, Fire Emblem IS NOT, I repeat, NOT a dating sim.)

...and continues.

My cousin and I were arguing about what a true Rpg is. In my thought's I figured that a True Rpg is something like what squaresoft made a.k.a. the Final Fantasy Series. Where as he thinks that True Rpg's are only online. He says that a true blue Rpg is like the old super nintendo Rpg's and the online ones. For instance, Everquest or city of hero's. I agree with the fact that those game's are Rpg's but He think's that the Final Fantasy series and game's like Legend of the Dragoon are too structured. Like your stuck as doing whatever that person does if that makes any sense. You don't have a choice in what you do. You don't get the true experience of being a different person. The turn based style is good, but after that it goes totally off from a Rpg. He thinks that you should have your own storyline or character. You should be able to go choose your own quest not follow what some game designer thinks is good. That's what My cousin thinks. I think in an Rpg, you should be able to be stuck in the default character. 'Cause that is just what an Rpg is. To go along with the story and do what the game is. It's like an interactive storybook. You can't choose what happens in a story book and the same with a true blue Rpg. At least thats what I think.

He think's: If Your (as in me) right then any game is an Rpg. Your always a person going along with that's been designed for you. If this is your only basis then game's like Mario Brothers, Tomb raider, and any shoot 'em up with plot are Rpg's.

Me think's: Some people have better Ideas then you and I and that is what makes it special that you can go and do what is instructed upon you and try and see what happens next. You try so hard to beat the game see if they kiss if they go there separet ways what happens next? Not I choose what happens.

He think's: You (as in me) are defining a nonsports video game. Your (as in me) giving me reason's to beat a game. It has nothing to do whether or not it's an Rpg. Thats a part of all video game's that have a plot.

I can't figure this out neither can he. Which is right? Or are we both wrong? And the main Question. What is a True Rpg?

-The Lizard and her cousin Joe

Well, I can't tell you what a true RPG is, because there's no real, solid definition of one. If you go by the definition of pen and paper RPGs, which have naturally been around longer than the video game kind, then the likes of NeverWinter Nights and Baldur's Gate would be the true RPGs ~ Dungeons & Dragons style. With such games comes a lot of freedom, at least more than in, say, Squaresoft's games. Which, I imagine, is probably why your cousin considers console RPGs too structured. In them, you have set characters, a set path, set level up statistics and spells... you get the drift.

And yes, it's true that many, many, many games have RPG elements... even if it's only a few. But to classify the games with fewer RPG elements as RPGs would be just plain silly, not to mention useless. I mean, does a game with maybe two RPG traits really give off that RPG feel? Hardly. Plenty of games have stories, and almost all have motives to beat the game. But I don't think that whether you're instructed to do something next, or your path is up to you, would make a game any less of an RPG. I mean, there's very successful RPG that have done one or the other.

The last thing your cousin said was right. The comment before that is a bit off if you ask me, as is the one that you 'should be stuck with a main character' and have things already laid out for you. But that's partly because I'm kind of familiar with pen and paper RPGs. It's simple: One of you grew up with one kind of RPG, the other is more familiar with.. well, the other kind. Again, good RPGs can go either way. The elements you both mentioned are important to RPGs, but not all have to be present... or that would be self contradicting. And for that reason not all are absolutely necessary in an RPG.

Medabots, or Medarots?

'ello I was just wondering about the release date for medabots for GBA release dates page it says that its some time in January but I have seen many copies of it in the stores and I in fact own one (don't get it or my GBA until Christmas though :( ) so I was just wondering if that's different game cause I know the one I got was medabota AX(or something X) rokushio version just wondered if there’s going to be lots of medabots games out or if mine is a terrible fake or something. Well thanx for wasting j00r time reading this.

j00r bestest best buddy (or just some random loser going for the secound one)

_-Embassador of cheese-_

Well, there is a Medabots game out, obviously, as you've pointed out, but there's also a Medabots RPG that has yet to come out, which is what you're seeing on release dates. Those are the only Medabots games I'm aware of, since I'm bad at keeping track of games I really don't care for. :P
Tomb Raider, RPG style.

Hey there-- i was just wondering, why is it that whenever there is an article, for example the recently posted 'Sweet Legacy Announce', inside it never mentions the US release. Now i know many games of that nature have not and will not be released in the US, but the least the writers could do is say something like "a US release has not been confirmed"--that way if there does happan to be a case where they do plan to domesticate the release we (the readers) will know whether or not to get our hopes and dreams up ^_^ Umm thats pretty much it-- oh and whose bright idea was it at SQUARE to turn Final Fantasy X into tomb raider?
Oh God, FFX-2 better not be another TR. Which I doubt it'll be, looking at the screens, but you gotta admit that Yuna looks skimpier than even Lara. Just be thankful she's not as ugly.

Eh, it's probably only more appropriate to do so on bigger titles, since one some games (like, you know, Triangle Again... :P), it should be obvious that the game will probably never make it here. Or, so we think. I mean, how many of you can imagine a game about a guy trying to be a pastry chef coming out in America? I'm sure that half the games we cover will never see the light of day here, and by reading the game descriptions, you'll know why. Yes, it's a tad strange that disguising yourself as a girl just to get into a school might be more appealing in Japan than beating up hookers in GTA, but whatever turns their cranks.

I only wish I was in college. Again.

My thoughts? heh looks pretty hot to me. I've watched my friends play X wishing I could get the money to get me a PS2 and X but..alas..I am a poor welp, college costs..~_^ at any rate..my thoughts on it..sounds good to me..Square has only let me down ONCE in the entire time I've played their games, starting from way back to I on the origional Nintendo..*Yays* all the way up hitting X. XI is was bothers me..Square stooped so low, it pissed me off that they would even think of such a thing as to try and create an Online game..sick if you ask me, of course you didnt as so I told anyway..as for the rest of Square's games..ROCK ON! I tell them, and they do..lord knows Rumor is XII is done already ~_^ but you didnt learn it from me..!


As I suggest to many readers who pass by my way, you should give FFX a shot when you have the chance. I haven't heard one guy who hasn't said Yuna looks hot... of course, many of them follow up with 'but she looks so DIFFERENT' and so on and so on. So what Square game disappointed you? While I haven't played every title, I can say that rather a few disappointed me, but I'll save my rants about said games for another day. XI... honestly, I wouldn't dislike it as much if I hadn't played it for a few minutes at E3... other than not being able to understand anything, it just failed to impress me in general.

It wouldn't surprise me if Square was far into development of XII. I mean, the game was announced so long ago, and they've probably only kept quiet about it to possibly derive people's attention to FFXI, the FFX sequel and others, and all the buzz about Square's reunion with Nintendo doesn't exactly help matters either. Oh, and apparently Square has said that FFXIII is in the works, or planning stages. Gah, slow down willya?

Hmm. Quickies.

Good afternoon,

I was just wondering the following about that nifty little game Golden Sun. Does fighting monsters in the Arena offer any type of reward? Thank you.

-Ben, a fan of video games

After questioning many people on the subject, I've heard it doesn't even offer you experience. So basically what you get out of the arena is fun, and to see how long your party lasts in battle. I personally think we're too spoiled by arenas like FFVI, VII and X where you can get some pretty awesome items, but that's just me. Still, they make for great side quests in that case.
Games are expensive. Could you do something about that?

Alex Fraioli

I only wish I could. Let's see, I could go shoot some people, but I don't know who and that probably won't solve anything. Um, get a well paying job? Ask for a bigger allowance? :P
Just a quick quetion. Why don't you ever offer your sweepstakes outside of the US and into Canada? We like win stuff to eh!

RPG Kowboy

I really don't know the answer to that, so let's blame the companies we run the contest for. :P ...And it IS up to them, and I'm guessing shipping charges is part of it. Of course, shipping is HARDLY extra to Canada, Hawaii or Alaska, so I don't know how big of a factor that really plays.

This will be brief.How did LuLu end up pregnant?

One word: Wakka. It's more or less explained (well...moreso alluded to) in the Another Story epilogue from FFX International (Japanese version)... though all I can remember right now is Yuna teasing Wakka and telling him he's not supposed to be the one with a belly. It sure as heck wasn't Yuna or Rikku, since they're both seen and are skinny as ever...

...And yes, I think Wakka and Lulu are a strange pair as well.

Closing Thoughts

Looks like it's time for me to update the topic again. So don't eat too much leftover Halloween Candy over the weekend, and write me in between bites. On... something. Even on this whole true RPG business.

~ Liz, blah. (letters@rpgfan.com)


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Sunday, July 15
Octopath Traveler • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

Star Ocean: Second Evolution • 2:30pm PDT/5:30pm EDT
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete • 5:30pm PDT/8:30pm EDT

Alundra • 12pm PDT/3pm EDT
Octopath Traveler • 5:30pm PDT/8:30pm EDT

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep • 2:30pm PDT/5:30pm EDT
Octopath Traveler • 5:30pm PDT/8:30pm EDT

Final Fantasy IX • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (Speedrun) • 6pm PDT/9pm EDT

Octopath Traveler • 5pm PDT/8pm EDT

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