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Xenosaga and Rum, part 2!
Friday, December 20, 2002

Ah yes, five days until Christmas. The madness worsens. The lineups continue until after mall closing. The GameStop which your friend manages, got a shipment of 115 BOXES (no, that is not a typo) yesterday. You can't find Kirby or a Metroid. You're freaking out because you still need two more gifts, but your mall is so crowded you loathe the thought of doing more shopping.

And amongst all this, you get to hear a few tidbits about the US version of Xenosaga. Nothing major, as the rest of the world will get to hear them anyway once the hands-on impressions go up, but the fun I get out of the English Xenosaga, which most people don't, is comparing that and the Japanese version, mainly voices.

So wonderful having your birthday two days away, yet plans still aren't finalized. Argh...

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Mmm, Sprite... er, oh, sprites!

Hey Liz. My favorite RPGs this year were Suikoden 3 and Kingdom Hearts. Both were far from perfect, yet I couldn't help loving them. Wild Arms 3 deserves an honorable mention.

There are many Rpg's I want to see over here but have little hope of. Magical Vacation seemed like it was coming out for a while but now... La Pucelle: Legend of the Maiden of Light is a game I would love to see but is very doubtful. Tales of Destiny 2 I am hopeful, and Venus and Brave I wish were here, this game is simply gorgeous I can't see any reason why we shouldn't get it. Why do developers think us AMericans don't deserve great sprite based games.

Also on the note of FIre Emblem on GC you said it would be strange to see it on GC as it's always been 2D, but just because it's on GC doesn't mean it would have to be 3D. IT most likely would be, but people need to realize Sprites aren't dead!!!! They're just dying. As they have been for a while. Luckily the GBA should keep them alive for a few years, along with capcom. Despite the release of the great looking 2D Veiwtfifull Joe, capcom is also moving away from 2D. Oh how Awful I think the new Breath of Fire looks compared to the Beautiful BOF 4. Hopefully it still plays good.

Anyway!! Bye.

Sprites FOREVER!!!

Well, no game's going to be perfect. There's going to be lots of great ones though, and I either missed a ton of them, or they're in my backlog of games to play. (Damn you, Metroid.) The top of that pile in fact, sits Suik3 and KH. And people wonder why I don't have a list of my own in our Games of 2002.

I think... that there's a lot of people who want to see certain games here, as unlikely as some of them are. Mine of course is Fire Emblem, but instead of just complaining, I import. And I shall continue to do so, so people can constantly ask about edited scenes and whatnot. :P Anyway, ToD2 you can pretty much count on... if only they figure out what the heck to call it here. They better not call it Tales of Eternia either.

Speaking of Fire Emblem, it would still be weird seeing a 3D one. Or for that matter, a 2D game on the GC, period. Weird or not, I really wouldn't mind seeing Nintendo and IS attempt a 3D Fire Emblem... they've got to sometime, right? They can do a Sword of Seals sequel... and use Roy's character model from SSBM! They can do it... really!

 
Maybe RPGMaker will be better this way.

Booyika! First of all my Christmas is ruined!! Rpg maker was supposed to be in Eb games today (Dec. 16). I have been dropping hints to me mother dearest to get it for me for the past month or 2. I called her on her cell phone and asked her to bring back something to eat. She told me (oh this is hard to take) that she in fact went to get the game for me but come to find out that me EB games had pushed down to March 31!! Why???!!! *sigh* Still this Christmas might be good. Mom ight get me a GBA or something. That would be good a GBA. Then I could get Zelda: Link to the past. Hmm maybe this Christmas won't be so bad after all! Gibanza!,

The Lizard

For some reason I had thought that RPGMaker 2 was coming out next month... I guess not. Oh well, I'd still take a GBA over that any day. You should ask for a platinum one of any stores have some left. And hey, that way you'll get to play Metroid Fusion! And tons of other great GBA titles. Me, I'm anxious for Zelda GBA.. and I do know I'm getting it. Or at least, I'm pretty sure. Too bad I'll have no one to play Four Swords with... oh, woe is me.
 
Yay for being too lazy to put in link tags.

Hi Liz!

First off, a gift (as requested at the end of Monday's mailbag, and hopefully you and the readers can use the hyperlink). Sorry, it's only regular strength.

Second, we've watched Squaresoft move toward Nintendo's side with some of their games. To make matters worse, I was one of those unfortunate souls who bought a PS2 when they ran $300 a pop and sold out in nearly every store they appeared in. And, when parents see that an extra year could've saved them an extra hundred bucks, a GameCube is out of the question. Then again, so are the games and their prices…. Might the world's biggest RPG maker be moving away from Robert's only console?

Last, my list of RPGs for the year include Kingdom Hearts and FFXI, but since we only know about FFXI through dinky movies posted on Kazaa and other P2P places, most people would have to disqualify it for RPG of the Year. Either way, Square gets to say “I'd like to thank the Academy.”

Robert James Funches

P.S. I've neglected to delete my signature, my signature, in the past, but I'm doing it now to make posting a bit easier. :)

Sadly, I need to take migraine pills (well, one each time) to get rid of my headaches. But thanks anyway!

Okay, it might be a little bit late, but you could always say... ask for a GC for Christmas. That might be a tad expensive, but the prices for PS2 games aren't much better (if at all) and the GC has some other, great non-Square titles worth picking up.

But with Sony's stake in Square, even though it's considerably less since Square started merging with Enix, I don't think Square will leave the PS2 platform entirely anytime soon. Square, I think is too big to just stick to one console, though it seems that some titles themselves will be exclusive to their platforms.

Eh, FFXI. Even if I did play it for more than twenty minutes I have the feeling it wouldn't make my top five list. Or ten. Or twenty.

 
The censorship debate at hand.

Hey, Liz.

Since you've played the Japanese version of Xenosaga, I'd like to know what you think of this news about a scene being cut from the English version of the game.

I'd been wavering on whether I would suffer through the English dubbing or wait until I get a Japanese PS2 to play Xenosaga, and censorship makes me so MAD that this news made the decision for me. Even if I do only have the Japanese language skills of a 3 year old, at least I'll be getting the full story AND some decent voice acting (hey, I made it through the Japanese version of Shen Mue 2, so I could handle this). The "Arigatou" --> "I love you" in FFX was bad enough, and that was just artistic license... but deleting an entire scene is evil. Still, I'm curious to know how relevant the scene is to the rest of the story. Perhaps you could enlighten?

Here's to teaching ourselves Japanese. It's crap like this that spurs me on.

I dismissed the news originally since IGN's source was a .... message board, but with conformation from Namco themselves, I finally care to comment.

The English dubbing is actually quite good from what I hear. I've only heard one character myself, but the company that's done the English VA for Cowboy Bebop and Rurouni Kenshin did Xenosaga as well, so I have some faith. As for the censorship, GamesAreFun got their facts wrong. The scene in question is not being deleted, rather edited to omit the really grotesque parts. And since I've seen it, I do think theyll be able to do that without leaving out part of the story and still give players an idea of what's going on, just not to the disturbing extent of the Japanese version. A very good reason for not deleting it altogether is that the whole scene is rather pertinent to the story, and quite a bit more happens than just the... gross part of it. You guys will see, in time. In fact, I agree with editing that scene, because it was rather disturbing... however, if they WERE to delete it altogether, I'd really object because of its role in the story.

I still want to hear Albedo's English voice. Argh.

 
I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas...

The thing with Auron is he is dead so he was able to travel to Zanarkand and in a way raise Tidus. Its not stated how he does it but being that he's dead anything is conceivable. I don't think its that hidden within the story but the everything in the story all comes together if you play through it twice, good for me but bad for people who don't like playing the same thing twice.

-Spoiler-
Suikoden III's battle system is far better than the previous Suikodens. Which to me made it a lot more fun to play. However the other Suikoden's particularly II outshine III in their epic appeal probably do to the fact that there is no all out war in III just small conflicts (which was quite the dissappointment considering the improved major battle system, this is the first one that I felt like the outcomes of battles was not decided by random chance - if anyone played II I'm sure you remember countless times your cavalry rode past the archers with no casualties being inflicted). The castle building is far better than in III as well. So the two things that makes Suikoden stand out from other rpg's got worse but not bad by any means which is why most people probably consider II better.

-Warning: potentially angering opinion-

Finally hahahahahaha to all those phonies who want Japanese voice acting with subtitles in Xenosaga. I can't stand voice acting in any language but English (probably because I speak English given that this is America). Of course I'd feel bad for people who really do enjoy Japanese voice acting ,not the phonies who like it just because they think its hip to like it or because it makes them feel like some elitist. I don't though because anyone really concerned will just import the Japan version. I know this is something that once you have an opinion about its likely not to change no matter what is said, it just pisses me off when I can't play something in English in a country who's language is de facto English.

Is anyone else disappointed by the mystery titles announced by Square. One of them is on a subpar system (great for mobility but lacking in any real anticipation for its games) and the other is one we knew about already. I'd at least hope for something new, preferably something worth hyping like a new Chrono game.

Last does anyone else think the artist was watching a mad max movie when he drew the newest FF character? As for the clothing or lack there of I would just wait until it comes out to bash it. For all you know you might be able to change into something less revealing, though I wouldn't because I'm a guy, or it might actually match the environment ( I mean Lulu should have passed out from heat exhaustion in some of FFX's areas and conversely Wakka should have froze to death on Mt. Gagazet). Maybe in there attempt to make games more real, such inconsistencies, although small and not detracting from the game itself, are being addressed. I'm not naive so its probably more to do with the fact that guys buy more video games but there might be a better reason for it.

Later.

Auron was dead?! OMFG SPOLIAR!!111

Uh, anyway, yes, I'm quite aware. :P It wasn't really questioned HOW Auron made it back to Zanarkand, more like why he was there. And sure, you don't really find out until the end, but there are lots of clues throughout the game that Auron was an 'unsent' beforehand.

I hadn't gotten far enough in Suiko3 to find out if there ever was an all out war, but now I know my answer. :P Still the plot could still be good, and I'm sure it will be, judging from the first chapters. I do have to say I love the major battle system, from the one time I got to use it.

I guess I can tolerate Japanese voice acting because of my (limited) Japanese knowledge. I can tolerate hearing all sorts of languages anyway, where I live, there's plenty of common languages. Seriously though, I've seen lots of bad Japanese voice acting, so don't anyone think for a minute that Japanese voice acting is all that above ours. Xenosaga, however... really impressed me. The voices fit the characters and personalities, and was really well executed, whether I could understand it 100% or not. And Namco USA hasn't done the most choice dub jobs in the past (ToD2, anyone?), so I think people think had a little bit of reason to worry. Xenosaga is a much bigger title with all kinds of potential (not to mention the fate of an entire series) riding on its success, so it doesn't surprise me to see Namco put more effort into this one.

I wouldn't know about disappointed... I'm not such a huge Square fan anymore that I anxiously await anything and everything they put out (nor did I ever, come to think of it), and they're going to have some subpar titles. Yes, I am looking forward to some of their upcoming stuff, others I could care less about until I see or read enough that I start getting interested. Of course, nothing will get me excited than an announcement on Chrono Break...

Ah yes, Pain, the sorta gothic, moody looking mysterious one. Earlier tonight someone said she looks like Squall on estrogen. I say with less clothes. I for one, hope the personality doesn't turn out like such. Someone else had this theory that she's Auron's daughter. For starters, Auron needs someone to have a daughter WITH. Second... this person also had some bizarre theory about Metroid Prime and Fusion... he's kind of bad at coming up with theories. As for outfits, I stopped questioning outfits in any game years ago. It's a video game, they don't need to be realistic. Although some are more than others, I admit. At least when it comes to armor.

 
Oh, my poor wallet.

MY THREE FAVE GAMES OF THE YEAR

In no particular order--

--FFX, naturally. the only FF that can stand up to FF7 (IMO). Albeit it had some problems (quest=too linear, and story=not FANTASTIC, but not crappy, either), what really made this one stand out (besides awesome graphics, as all FFs have) was gameplay. Revamped battle system. Revamped summoning. Revamped EXP system. All changes for the better. (sigh)....good stuff.

--Metroid Fusion. A huge surprise (a good surprise, that is) - all of the beloved old-school Metroid gameplay returns, along with *GASP* a decent, more-than-one-idea story?! Indeed!

--Dead to Rights (Max Payne: Gaiden). Before you nay-say it, (as i did before playing it), play the freakin game. It's Max Payne on steroids. Slow-mo diving, hand-to-hand as well as weapons combat, nice variety of weapons, disarming baddies, peering out from corners then shooting ala MGS2, using baddies as human shields, throwing then shooting at canisters - it's just FUN.

It was a pretty good year in the gaming world, methinks. Next year should kick some serious ass, what with Devil May Cry 2, Silent Hill 3, Star Ocean 3, Xenosaga, ZeldaGC, FFCC - all part of your complete breakfast.

~Neo VALMAR

P. S. - MGS3 at E3!!?!? You BEST give us a detailed, 3 page summary of the 16 second trailer they show! Can't wait!

Yeah, sure I guess FFX counts if you really want. It came out very late last year...

I tried using that argument already. Didn't work. Alas, my list of played RPGs this year is short, and half of them are imports.

I liked how Samus had an actual conversation in Metroid Fusion and had her narrate the thing. Gives the poor armor clad chick a personality, at least. And the plot twists were definitely neat. Oh how I love Intelligent Systems.

If Dead to Rights really is that good, it failed to prove it to me at E3. Maybe I thought of it as overly corny/missing a lot of things, maybe I wanted to find out more about the English version of Xenosaga, but DtR, while slightly amusing (at least that stripper scene... wtf?) just didn't do it for me. Just bring on Soul Calibur 2 already... you know you want to.

I wonder if I'll play more current games next year. With all the old games I finally played this year, probably. Then again, with my backlog spilling over FROM this year INTO next year, and money being limited, probably not.

 
Oh, the people reminding me of that scene.

Hi Liz,

I just read the article regarding the editting of the scene late in Xenosaga, Ep. 1. What exactly was "disturbing" in the scene? Was there some reason you didn't go into detail in the article? I plan on getting the North American release, but I just am curious to know what they felt was necessary to edit. Thanks, and keep up the good work-I love the site!

Roy Rimer

Lots of reason. First off, it's kind of spoilerific. Second, I doubt Namco would appreciate any detail in a news article... it being so late in the game and all. I wouldn't exactly call it child molesting, but it was disturbing seeing a 12 year old looking that hurt, and I'll leave it at that. I've seen a lot of gruesome stuff in games and movies, but this one was rather grotesque and not something that is common in movies or games. It was enough to make people never want to watch that scene again, I'll tell you that much. Normally, I find most forms of censorship really not all that necessary, but I'd have to agree with Namco this time.
 
If only I had that kind of information.

I was just wondering are there going to be anymore Final Fantasy games for Gameboy Advance or future GB systems because i would love to play old and new FF on a portable system and im talking about other FF besides FFTA and FFCC

Thanks

If there were, trust me, we'd be spilling info about them as much as we could. As it is, the games you hear about are the games currently being worked on and the only titles announced (Wow... logic! Isn't it great?!). Aside from all that, the GBA, again, has great non-Square titles out there. Heck, Square-wise, there's even Shinryaku Seiken Densetsu, and I'm personally looking forward to that.
 
Closing Thoughts

So close to Christmas... and so much chocolate. Can't.. stay.. away...

Anyway, I'm still after your lists and reasons for your top games of 2002. You know you want to. That means RPGs and non RPGs by the way. And heck, how about your favorite other things of 2002? Like... bizarre Hollywood pairing? Okay, not really. I don't follow that kind of crap myself.

~ Liz, wondering what the point of a champagne birthday is... (letters@rpgfan.com)



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