Beyond These Shores
Wednesday, January 15, 2003

My gaming life = one big void.

It's sad, but true. Ever since I beat Metroid Prime last week, I have barely played anything, aside from turning on Fusion for a few minutes. Attending to real life events and needing the TV not to be hogged will do that to me, eh. Nevertheless, I hope to get 100% item collection in Prime before moving on to... whatever I said I'd play next, either Kingdom Hearts or Suikoden III. I'm partially glad I have a gaming backlog here, which keeps me from buying other games in the future. Except Xenosaga - even though I already own it, nothing can keep me from another copy. In a more native language especially.

So begins the slowest time of the retail year. It's enough to put one to sleep as people stroll malls during that period between the after Christmas sales and the Valentine's/sidewalk sales, and the lack of a rush. Big surprise there. If other Christmas shoppers are anything at all like me, they're saving their cash to pay off Christmas related bills. Or saving to get something for their loved ones on Valentine's Day. (Awwww...)

In other news, the premier of Liz's province was arrested over the weekend for drunk driving - in Maui. It started out amusing as his mug shot was, literally, plastered all over local papers, then got slightly irritating when nobody wanted to talk about anything else. People sure love to tear politicians to shreds. Even if I don't think he's done the best job, there are other happenings in the world.

I see that it is now time to read some letters, and for me to beg for some more at the end.

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The monolith of Monoliths...

Hi RPGFan,

Love the site, I visit it frequently. Anywho...I was looking up the new Matrix anime, The Animatrix, not because I like the Matrix but cause I heard SquarePictures(which I thought was dead) is making a short CG film for the Animatrix, anyway I started to look around through the site and I came upon this press release ( http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/rl_cmp/rl_press_May_22_02.html ) , which says they are making a MMORPG based on the Matrix. The game is being made by Monolith...which at first I thought was the company behind Xenosaga, but it isn't. Just wanted to know if you knew anything about this, cause I don't remember you guys saying anything about it.

P.S. when the hell is Final Fantasy XI going to come to the U.S.?

Ah yes. There are, in fact, two Monoliths. There's... Monolith, whom you stumbled upon, and Monolith Soft, Xenosaga's developer. Yep, just the word 'Soft' makes all the difference. Funny how, eventually, both can be linked back to Squaresoft. I really know nothing of the 'Monolith' myself. And there's really nothing more to add to that, unless you want me to talk about monoliths in general, in which case I wouldn't know where to start.

I honestly wish Square would give an official release date so everyone would stop asking already. :P So far they haven't, as I imagine they're making sure Sony (or someone) actually plans to release a hard drive first, since you can't exactly play the game otherwise. Sony still has not announced it, and it's starting to make us wonder if they're bringing one out at all. I believe EB has a release date of March listed for FFXI, but since it's not made official, I don't consider that too reliable.

Hey neat, another eskimo!

Hey Miz Liz,

How are things out in Vannycouver? The tulips up yet? How about the hydrangeas?

Right now it's drier than Oscar Wilde's wit out here in Cowtown, and warm enough to tan a hide (Yay for chinooks, or something!) , though it is starting to cool down. And yet the Alberta government still vehemently denies that there's global warming. We're an odd lot. =)

Just some quick Q's. I was going to bring up the Xenosaga censoring issue, but you seem to have covered it enough. No sense in flogging that dead horse--although I suggest that maybe you should put up a link somewhere to that scence on some P2P so people will stop pestering you about it.

1. Did you manage to beat Metroid Prime yet? Not to spoil things for you, but I found the ending rather lacklustre. I mean, most of the endings in the Metroid series have been rather vanilla. But I was expecting more from a game that was on a DVD, and took sixteen hours of my life to beat, no less. And you know, if you really think about it, the story doesn't make a lot of sense.

2. Xenosaga's length: Does it really take 80 hours to beat or is that just so much marketing bafflegab?

That's about it! Thanks.


"I'm from North Kiltown!"

Tulips? Hey, I don't live in Holland here.

Chinooks rock - apparently, to the point where Calgary felt the need to name a whole mall after them. As for your goverment denying something that exists... do you want to trade governments? You'd get Gordon Campbell! Anyway. Here, they've been predicting snow tomorrow - er, today, but the skies were still clear, and the days have been warm.

Just thank the Gods neither of us are in Winnipeg. Can we say -36 celsius?

Okaaaaaay. So, Metroid Prime. Ending is cool, but short, though keep in mind that if you collect 100% items, you do get a better ending. Which, by the way, may be mostly the same thing, with an added scene that has a good story chunk in it. As for the rest of the game... I, personally, found it to make sense, but I also scanned like mad and got all the logs. Well okay, so I'm missing a couple...

Okay, if Xenosaga took 80 hours to beat... it would be as long as Xenogears. Believe me, it's not. It is very possible to spend as long as 80 hours in the game, but the average RPG fan will beat it in about 40-50, if not less. Now, if you took 80 hours to beat it, chances are you were really into leveling up, doing side quests and playing mini games. Myself, I did the first two, especially the leveling up part, so I can get some more Ether spells.

The game took me about 70 hours in the end. I imagine that the US release will take me just over half as much to beat, since I already know my way through the whole game and have my JP guidebooks. :P

You forgot the best 2D graphics: Chrono Trigger. (Or maybe SD3.)


First off, wanted to say you guys easily have the best rpg website ever. I grew up on rpgs and have been constantly searching for the first videogame website I check everyday and rpgfan is it. Anyway, I just wanted to drop a note to thank you guys and post a few opinions.

Favorite Rpgs of all time (I only play console rpgs):

Phantasy Star 2 (brilliant but the dungeon design is beyond hard, i find it impossible without the hint book)

Final Fantasy IV/2 (this one and PS2 were the first two rpgs that made me fall in love with the genre)

Grandia (simply fun and very charming)

Best Battle System: Grandia. GameArts has easily created the most fun battle system in any rpg. it says a lot when i look forward to fighting battles. Why can't more companies rip off this system or enhance it?

Best Music: Final Fantasy IV/2. I can still hum at least a dozen songs from the game. Even though it's midi, the composition is complex and wonderful.

Best RPG of 2002: I bought Suikoden 3 and my roommate jumped on it and is 56 hours into the game. I personally find it rather dull and too text driven. Maybe I'll like the game more if I play it myself. But from the looks of it, I don't think it's my cup of tea. So I guess I'd give this award to Drakan (action-rpg). A lot of people have forgotten about this gem!

RPGs I'm playing right now:
Phantasy Star IV--i feel it's repetitive and not as good as II.

Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons--again, find it repetitive and pretty boring. I'm sort of sick of the zelda formula where you have to remember places that you now have access to that you didn't previously. Some people call it "adventure", I call it "memorization". Snooze. However, Link's Awakening is one of my fave rpgs of all time. Maybe I'm just tired of the formula.

Secret of Mana 2--really liked it at the beginning, now getting sick of the battle system. It just doesn't control very well. But the graphics are absolutely stunning. I think the first secret of mana is a lot better.

Bahamut Lagoon--once again, stunning graphics...but the gameplay is a bit lacking. Way way too easy. But I'll finish to the end just so I can enjoy the graphics some more.

thanks for reading! keep up the great work.


It seems to me that FFIV or VI will make you fall in love with the genre very easily. Chrono Trigger too. Oh, those were the days. As far as music goes, I find IV's more charming if you listen to Celtic Moon and Piano Collections. I just don't find Uematsu's tracks as memorable anymore...

I've heard constantly that Phantasy Star IV is nowhere near as good as the rest of the series. Everyone seems to like II, which I've seen bits of - not to mention I know how it ENDS - and would like to play, preferably if and when I obtain PSC. I've been told it's hard, but it's not as if every RPG I've played has been easy.

Can anybody explain to me just what Secret of Mana 2 is? I saw some website (GAF I believe?) recently call it that as well. As far as official titles go, there is no such thing. For those who STILL don't know, Secret of Mana is part of the Seiken Densetsu series. It is the SECOND SD. The first was Final Fantasy Adventure and the fourth was Legend of Mana. The third, which I really like, never came here. So which game is it that you're referring to? :P

I can't exactly say the same thing about Zelda, as I've only played a couple. Hell, I've probably played the two best 2D games in the series, A Link To The Past and Link's Awakening. The series has a lot more going for it than the 'formula' though, and I don't hear too many people complain about that, even though I know it's there in all, or most of the games. Strangely enough, I don't know which Zelda I'm looking forward to more: Ocarina of Time or Wind Waker.

Xenolove. Plenty to go around.

Dear Liz

I am the guy who wrote a letter about company when I was half a sleep. Xenogears got me into mechs and rpgs. I was only 11 when I played it, I got it just because of the mechs. Then I was deeply impressed with the story, even the save played a role in the story. Unfortunately, every video game magazine hated except one mag, who gave it a bronze medal. Now Xenogears as we both know it deserves best game ever. I never bought a video game mag since. I used to think everybody hated this game. Until I found this site by mistake a year. There were other people who agreed with me and opinion's I could trust. And about Xenogsaga I am pissed that you don't get to use the anti Gnosis weapons. Since I enjoyed Xenogears so much do you think I will enjoy Xenosaga?

P.S.: I almost forgot about Car battler Joe. I wanted to play that game after seeing those screen shots.

A guy

Yeah, I really liked how the SAVE POINT, of all things, had an actual role/purpose in the story of Xenogears. I can see why you loved Xenogears so much when it came to the mechs - they were rather vital to the story, and like Evangelion (the comparisons never end), they were more than just giant machines. I, too, became really curious about mechs because of Xenogears. You can't say that about very many females. :P It doesn't bother me that magazines galore hated it at the time, or it wouldn't have anyway, since I wasn't even aware. Hell, if anyone remembers CosmoCanyon.net from about four years ago, it was taken down because of numerous flames because the site owner, Fritz Fraundorf, gave Xenogears a 7/10 review. I didn't agree with the score of course, but 'to each his own' has always been something I live by. (Needless to say, said Fritz person is a good friend of mine these days. So hi if you're reading this. ;D) It also doesn't surprise me that so many people started seeking out the game just a tad too late - once it was hard to find. It is, after all, Square's biggest 'sleeper hit'. Xenogears' main popularity has always been by word of mouth, which is why it was so slow to grow so popular.

You can certainly use the AGWS in Xenosaga... but the role they play, as compared to the role the mechs play in Xenogears is entirely different. I don't know if this will change as the series goes on, but we'll have to wait and see. The AGWS in Xenosaga are just that - a weapon system. They are hardly necessary, and serve mainly as a backup plan. Eventually they'll become more useless as your characters level up, unless you dole out the tons of money to upgrade and such. Even as I did so, they weren't as useful... Eh. As far as the rest of the game is concerned, you'll like it. It's again, very story oriented, but not nearly as long or wordy. The story is well done though, and if the English voice actors are anywhere near as good as the Japanese ones, then it's already impressive enough.

Whys, or ease?

Hey Liz. You rule.

Ok, so am I the only one freaking out about YS 1 and 2 Eternal story? Did anyone besides me play the Original YS book 1&2 for the Turbo Duo? That game RULES and it still one of my favorites to this day. I've had dreams about that game before, kinda freaky huh? This is so huge, how can people not be talking about it? This game has one of the best sound tracks ever and a killer story. I cant wait to see this new version. What are your thoughts liz?


Aw, I never got to play Ys.. woe is me. Yes yes, I've heard the series was a real classic, and all sorts of things about it, so I too had been wondering why more people weren't talking about it, especially if it comes here. If given a chance, I'd definitely give the games a shot.
Music makes the site go 'round. Kinda.

I must say, your site is pretty impressive, although I would appreciate it if you could get some music from Golden Sun and some more for Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. I haven't had the chance to look at the whole site but here is my first impression: Extensive, Cool looking, Clean (very good), and lots of semi-decent quality music (though I haven't heard all of it). Anyway, I like it and will be coming back for more.


Ah... you mean RPGFan Radio? That's handled by Parn, and he won't get to update it in a while, since he's off at basic training. When he gets back though, I'm sure he'll be more than glad to add to the playlist, since no one else has access. As he knows, I'm always glad to offer him some suggestions and MP3s. =P

If you mean music of the MIDI kind, however, those are actually fan submitted to Brian. So.. if you sequence MIDIs, feel free to send him some. And thanks for all the compliments on the site!

Strategy RPGs. Yum.


I'm not exactly sure if Ogre Battle is an RPG or not, but it seems close enough!

I was just wondering how to answer the starting questions in order to get the different variations of the hero. Cos there are supposed to be four, but for some reason I seem to only get one!

Thx guys

If Ogre Battle wasn't an RPG, we definitely wouldn't be covering it, Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, Hoshigami, Fire Emblem, Shining Force.... you get the point. Got to love strategy RPGs.

Anyway, you didn't specify which Ogre Battle... but go here if you meant the SNES one. If that doesn't help, or if you meant Ogre Battle 64, then I have no idea, so look at GameFAQs in that case.

Portable RPGs. Yum.

Hey Liz

I'm so confused i've completed Golden Sun and i'm desperately looking for another rpg for the GBA but i feel everything else pales in comparison to Golden sun which leaves me with a new problem, since i also live in england it means that it takes a much longer time to get the games that you've already got in the U.S. When I go to the gamestores I look at rpgs and to tell the truth all of them do not cross my mind so i'm just waiting for some new games to be released (or even better golden sun lost age) So id really love it if you could recommend me some good rpgs that are currently out or are coming out within the month.

PS. i heard a rumour that final fantasy crystal chronicles is also going to have a gba version is this true?


Since I don't know what Europe has for GBA RPGs, I'll just remind you that you CAN import US games, as GBA games are universally compatible.. or whatever. Basically, you can play US games on your GBA no problem. As for what there is out there in English, there's Tactics Ogre: Knights of Lodis, the Link to the Past port, the Breath of Fire remakes, Lunar: Legend, and the Phantasy Star Collection, all off the top of my head. Importing will also come in handy since you really want Golden Sun: Lost Age and if you have the money.

Of course, you guys ARE getting Shining Soul, whereas we are not.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles merely has you use the GBA as a controller if you're playing multiplayer. There's no actual GBA game, you just watch your character and stats and such on the GBA screen. I think the idea's pretty nifty, myself, since you can (I think) have up to four people, and unlike Secret of Mana, you might not all have to be in the same screen space at once....

Closing Thoughts

Well, I must say I'm rather surprised at the amount of people who wrote in recently who admitted they'd never written in before.. and impressed. So um, keep writing me. Or something. Anyhow, I think I milked the Games of 2002 topic to death, so let's move on to what you look forward to in 2003, shall we?

~ Liz, in need of more strawberry KitKats. (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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Retro Encounter Final Thoughts ~ Lunar: The Silver Star

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