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Ye Shall Be As Gods
Monday, March 3, 2003

...Liz who?

Yeah, I kind of died and came to back to life in the past month. Playing Xenosaga for reviewing purposes, then staying up til 4 AM when you need to be at work four hours later would do that to you.

"What, Liz reviewed Xenosaga?!"

You mean you didn't SEE the two huge Xenosaga updates for media and reviews on the front page - both of which link to our three massive reviews? WTF is wrong with you?

"WTF, Liz only gave XS an 88%? And Stephen and Rob scored it higher?!"

Yeah well, great games do have their faults. While XS is just damned fantastic, two of its faults were too major to overlook.

Well, that is that. Check out the three reviews if you haven't already. Buy the game if you haven't already. Anyway, I hope you didn't mind the Mailbag's guest hosts too much while I was off on Second Miltia. (Apparently a lot of you males certainly didn't mind the last edition... she wants her fan mail BTW. :P) I suppose I should thank those hosts for doing a decent job and not scaring too many readers away. And sorry to you guys who missed me. I feel loved!

All I know right now is that Suikoden III and Kingdom Hearts are up next, as well as getting this section going regularly again. I think I'll hold off on reviews for a while, and stick to previews or something instead. And maybe obsess over the Xenocard game some more.

Let's see if I'm still capable of this, and if XS hasn't completely fried my brain at this point.

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Ah yes, deja vu.

Dear RPGFan,

First off, I would like to thank Nicole for posting my last letter on the mailbag. I'll even go as far as to praise the site once more on a job well done. However, a thought crossed my mind when Nicole mentioned she wanted a "thought provoking discussion". Well, i got one, so lets get right into it.

Now i know this idea has been discussed before, but why not discuss it further? What Makes an RPG an RPG??? Well, to me, RPGs have always been sort of an interactive storybook. You could say that a lot of games are like that, but what really sets RPGs apart from other games is the fact that you dive deeper into the lives of your characters more than your typical Action/Adventure Hack and Slash title. Now I've heard some arguments from some claiming that the godsend that is Kingdom Hearts was no RPG, merely an action/adventure game, and that if Kingdom Hearts could be called an RPG, why not the Lord of The Rings: Two Towers??? Well here's my answer. RPGs are composed of more epic storylines and deeper character development, both of which Kingdom Hearts has. Also, in many RPGs, traditional ones at least, the battle system is more of a tactical turn based. At the end of these battles, your characters gain experience. After enough experience, your characters then gain levels. Now i give credit to some of the hack and slash games out there, such as Two Towers, because a few of them, like this game, or more than the usual run of the mill action/adventure title. Two Towers DOES have an epic storyline, but it IS based on a book. Players DO gain levels, however not in the traditional RPG sense. (Those who have played the title will know what i mean). What sets an Action RPG like Kingdom Hearts apart from an Action/Adventure title like Two Towers, is that like i said, an epic storyline, more character development, the gaining of experience after battle, and the fact that if you have played both titles, you will notice a more Role Playing feel to Kingdom Hearts than what is found in Two Towers. Now some may argue that these things alone dont make an RPG and RPG. The truth is, it takes a whole lot more. Those are simply the basics. But, thats what i wrote this letter for. Its time to start a discussion. So, for all the veteran RPG players out there reading this, get your typing fingers ready. Lets debate!

Sincerely,
ExpertGamer30134@bellsouth.net

P.S. Thanks Nicole for giving me the link to the fanfic section. However, i came across a slight problem. When I clicked the link, it started up AOL to follow it. We just recently cancelled our AOL account, and are currently using a DSL modem with Internet Explorer for web browsing. Anyway, is there a way i can submit my fanfic using Internet Explorer? The mailbag has an actual email address, so doesnt the fanfic section? If you could provide me with that, or at least a way to submit my fanfic using Internet Explorer, that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! And keep up the good work!

I wouldn't mind thought provoking discussions either. Trust me, when you get all sorts of e-mails asking what game comes out when and that type of thing, you crave the 'thought provoking' type even more.

But the 'what makes an RPG?' thing did come up a few months ago, and I had maybe 4-5 editions worth of material. Even though it wasn't too recent, I'm still drained when it comes to that subject - in other words, I don't have much to say on it, since defining an RPG isn't an easy thing... there's too many fuzzy lines and such. Whether a game is labeled as an RPG won't make me like it more or less anyway... I know some titles are iffy, like Zelda and Castlevania games, but they're such major series anyway. Oh well. I know I got tons of e-mails on the subject ages ago, but if anyone else feels like commenting feel free.

You know... it wouldn't be hard to go look at the fanfic section and find out the e-mail address, instead of waiting several days for me to respond. Of course e-mail isn't sent through a WEB BROWSER, but if you've been able to send e-mails to letters, then you'll be able to send one to the fanfics department. Knowing how to attach files to your e-mail would probably do you some good as well if you're going to submit a fanfic.

 
Gotta love hate. Or.. not.

Hey,

Hot damn, .Hack has gotta be one of the most original, shit games I have ever played. I can't express how ghastly this game is. How the hell is .Hack getting all these "amazing" reviews, when the game is boring as fuck, and moves at a snail pace? Oh well, there is always Xenosaga (WHICH BETTER BE GOOD)...

Love,
Jimbob Ferdinand Antwain the Ninja

PS - I hate snow, it makes me lazy, and by lazy, I mean I'm too lazy to do anything but sleep (even too lazy for videogames) In fact, I hate a lot of things, and since I don't feel like making a structured complaint, I'm just going to list what I hate:

Snow
Economics
Oh my good God, Economics
.Hack
Drakkhen
Driving in Snow
Snow Days (for we have to make them up during Spring Break)
Having my DSL broken
Using 56K because of aforementioned circumstance
8 incredibly loud puppies

Amazing review? I can assure you that our very own Chris H. sure didn't give the game an amazing review. I've heard all sorts of mixed mumblings when it comes to .hack, as well as BoFV, whereas I've heard nothing but good things about Dark Cloud 2 and all sorts of excitement over Xenosaga, a game that sure seems to live up to its hype so far. And as I predicted, everyone's whining about this or that boss. You didn't hear any of THAT in FFX, now DID YOU? And no, do not even try to tell me that the Yunalesca battle was hard.

As for hatred of things... well, I see enough angst on people's online journals, in chat rooms and on message boards. I'd go on about my list of hated things, but that'd just be a waste of time. So.. go play a game you love instead, or something.

 
Talk about random.

Hi there! Oh man, your site is the best! This is my first time writing in (if ya couldn't tell).

Do you know what's with Atlus publishing the new lufia game? Maybe it's just my poor brain failing, but didn't Natsume bring those games out before? Not that I am complaining or anything, just getting the game is what matters! Could you maybe shed some light on this for me? Only you guys can help me!

Liz (or is it Elizabeth?) I have a few more questions to ask. Suikoden 3 was a cool game, but it totally needed robots. How do you feel about this issue? Old games usually don't have such things, but newer ones do. Tekken 4 had robots! But Unreal Tournament didn't have robots. Robots are cool. People say the GF Alexander is a robot...

Now, this isn't about an rpg, but what do you think about the Soul calibur 2 secret characters? The xbox and ps2 guys are okay and all, but I think Link is going to be the best! Link rules my school! :)

But anyway, I've written enough for now. :D Toodles! Every game question that pops into my mind gets answered at your site. See ya around!

I honestly don't know why Atlus is bringing out the Lufia games out now, but I guess it's all a matter of who won the bidding war and who actually wants to. If you're asking if I have inside/background information as to why, I'm quite the wrong person. It's pretty common though. If you remember, Grandia II for the Dreamcast was brought here by Ubi Soft, and the PS2 version was localized by Enix. If the translation is good though, I have no complaints on my end.

I guess the second question depends on how big of a mech fan you are. Personally, if they're well done and useful somehow, be it the story or gameplay (Xenogears! Heh...), I'll like them. An example of the opposite end of the spectrum is Xenosaga, where they're just THERE, the mechs have no actual style, and they have no relevance to the story. Not to mention the worst scenario - as far as battling goes, the AGWS, save a few boss battles and a whole two regular battles, are rather useless.

Back to the point though, do most games, especially those with a setting similar to Suikoden's, need robots? Not by a long shot. Given Suikoden III's setting, a robot would be rather out of place, not to mention they wouldn't even have been invented yet. I guess it depends on a person's taste, but I doubt most gamers require a robot in a game in order for it to be awesome.

Soul Calibur II - Loved the first, rocked at the first, and can't wait for the second. As for the secret characters, neither Spawn nor Tekken were ever my thing, but I'd definitely choose Heihachi over Spawn, in any case. Then, of course, there's Link. Now, if any of you mistake me for one of those idiotic drooling Link fangirls, I'll personally come and kill you. That said, the screens of Link look awesome, thus, the GC version will be mine this summer. Or mine and Mike's. Or Mike's, and I'll just get to play it extensively.

 
As long as they're making us good RPGs...

Excellent work with the letters! Really, I love your mailbag! Can you take some time to answer a few of my questions?

First things first, what's square up to? Are they making a kh sequel? Really, not everything in the world is online. As well, could you tell me about Namco? Do they usually have so many rpgs? Like, xenosaga has me so excited! Oh, and could you pass me any Venus & braves info? Everything you could tell me would be great! Sorry to bug ya, but news on this game is so hard to find right now! Anyways...

Love your letters column, Liz! Really hope you keep up the good work! Please publish my letter! Goodbye!

Square, Square... honestly, I'd say the KH2 sequel isn't their biggest priority right now, though I'm sure it's in the works. The big Square projects of the moment would be FFX-2, FF Crystal Chronicles, and of course, FFXII. For our shores, they're also working on FF Tactics Advance and UNLIMITED: SaGa. And who knows what else. Hopefully CHRONO BREAK... but no. I'm not bitter. Not at all. ;)

As for Namco, they don't usually have a ton of RPGs, no, but since they're a rather huge company, it's not too much of a surprise to see them being able to handle it. Most of their current RPG projects are the Tales games, of which I've lost track of, hopefully Xenosaga's second episode, and the other Monolith Soft title.

While I haven't been keeping track of Venus and Braves all that much myself, there hasn't been too much info lately, and what there is, should be in our preview for the game.

 
What's outside again?

First I would like to say that your site is great and I visit it almost everyday. I have really been awaiting Xenosaga and you have a lot of info about it. But the reason I wrote is to talk about the lack of outsides in recent RPG's. One of my favorite things to do was fly around on the Highwind in FFVII, or the Ragnarok in FFVIII. But outside worlds have eliminated in recent titles such as FFX, Suikoden III, and Kingdom Hearts. I guess that Legaia 2 had sort of an outside, but when I think of an outside world, I don't think of an undetailed, uncontrolable environment. I believe that this takes away some of the fun in RPG's. I just wanted to ask if you knew why all of the best new RPG's have been following this trend.

Thanks.

I find outside world exploring more fun and, well, realistic in an RPG. Plus, developers have to create a landscape for the entire planet... Though I find that without world maps, some games just get more innovative, like Kingdom Hearts for instance. Others simply create giant fields where you would normally be spending forever getting from point A to point B on the world map, such as FFX and the Calm Lands, Mi'Hen Highroad, etc. Yet still others, such as Xenosaga, don't need, or simply can't have a world map. How many games that take place in space have you seen with world maps?

It definitely takes away from some of the fun, yes, but I'd think (and hope) that we're safe as long as we don't see world maps disappearing completely. The only reason I can think of is that developers are trying something different - and hey, if it works, why not?

 
Yay for backlogs.

Hello, Mailbag person! I've been a visitor to your site for a few years, and I'm pleased with the direction, quality, and focus that its staff brings the site to.

Have any of you finished .Hack//Infection yet? I must say I am very pleased with Bandai and CyberConnect2 for such a remarkable, non-clich?RPG. Some may mark it a little short, but it IS coming out in four installments, and the games do import your previous data, so you don't lose anything.

Now my question: Did any of you notice the very, very large number of Tail Concerto cameos in this game? Tail Concerto was such a lovely RPG/Platform hybrid on the PS, published by Bandai in the days of yore, I couldn't help but feel shocked that the game not only had character name cameos (The Pris Sisters, Cyan, Panta, and Fool to name a few), but the English voice actors were practically the same! I could have sworn Waffle Ryebread threw on a human suit and called himself Kite!

The game also had Tail Concerto music! The news banner on the desktop was also advertising Tail Concerto, Panta's theme was even unlockable, and the music from Ferzen plays if you summon a Noble Grunty in the Thada Server! Like, totally fantastic! Did anyone at RPGfan notice these little things, or am I the only one to see all of the cameos from Bandai's cute sleeper gem?

Thankies for your time!

~Bonnie

...Anyone care to comment? :P
 
Ancient relics prove more ancient than ever.

First I just want to say you guys are awsome and this is the only game site I go to.Now lets get to the point, I have seen articles saying Xenogears and Xenosaga are not related and ones saying they are.They say stuff about the zohar on Xenosaga but wasnt the zohar on the second disc of Xenogears. It is what powers the gears or somthin.I just want to find out if they are related or not, thanks.
Okay, since I've explained this fifty times, I have, no joke, pretty much got this thing rehearsed by now. So, here goes.

As it is now, with only Ep 1 released, Xenogears and Xenosaga's only currently related by Zohar. The XS series takes place in XG's universe, yes, but only follows an altered timeline of that of Xenogears Perfect Works. Also, since the two games are 15,000 years apart, it's IMPOSSIBLE for them to be more related than that. Let's wait for the rest of the series to come out, then we can see how much more they'll relate. And yes, Zohar does power the Gears, but that doesn't mean it can't exist for many thousands of years. You never saw it in XG disc 1 because it wasn't part of the immediate story at the time.

 
Closing Thoughts

Wow, that takes care of... most of my backlog, anywho. Time for a topic change, methinks! And time for plenty, plenty of sleep.

By the way, did anyone get Xenosaga lithographs other than the chaos and Shion ones? More importantly, can anyone get an extra one? I'm looking to complete my retarded Xenosaga collection even more... heh. I've heard of KOS-MOS and MOMO ones at least, and if anyone knows how I could acquire them (other than going to the stores, which I can't, since they're all in the US :P) that'd rule.

~ Liz, ihr wille zur macht. (letters@rpgfan.com)



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