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That Damn Mac Guy
Monday, April 7, 2003

Mike: Check it out, I'm hosting this time. Yeah, I'm sure everyone missed me and...okay, probably not. But Liz works a lot and I sit around a lot lately, so I offered to help out this once. Maybe this will be fun. We'll see.

So what I have I played lately... Skies of Arcadia Legends. I originally bought Devil May Cry 2, and after becoming very disappointed in it, exchanged it for Skies. And let me say - wow. I actually own the game on Dreamcast, but for one reason or another, never found the time to really play it. I guess some of the music is lower quality than before, but I can't tell, so that's okay. I've heard some friends and other people talk about how great the game is, and now I finally see why. It's the most fun I've had with an RPG in awhile.

After that, I got Xenosaga, and despite somewhat lacking gameplay (I actually like the battles though - sometimes), I love the presentation. Maybe it's not a fantastic "game", and I really dislike the 'silence' that's prevalent in most of the gaming sequences, it's a great "experience". I hope we get to hear something about Episode II soon, especially if it's going to take a year to make it to the US like Episode I. One thing I don't get about some people's complaints - the cutscenes... now, how are they bad? If you can sit through lengthy text-based story scenes, what's wrong with a voice-based one? It gets a lot of flak for making you 'watch' all the time, but if it was all text, you'd still be watching... the only interactivity would be pressing a button after each window. Given the choice, I'll stick with the way they did it.

Then I got Zelda. I already played and finished the import in December, but playing it again in English reminds me of just how much I love this game. True, I'm a big Zelda fan, but I really like just about everything in it. The story is actually much deeper and more interesting than the series is known for, so that's a nice surprise. Plus, much like Ocarina of Time, the final battle is awesome as hell. I won't say more, but it's quite cool.

I suppose that's enough. Let's see what we have in letters tonight.
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Dark Cloud 2, Xenosaga, etc...

So yeah. I've been reading a lot of different websites and their letters sections. And I've noticed that Dark Cloud 2 is really getting no appreciation at all. Take IGN for instance, They gave Dark Cloud 2 a 9.0 (not sure) and Xenosaga an 8.8 (Not sure again). But then for their game of the month they chose Xenosaga. There's very few reasons to do this. DC2 easily matches the length of Xenosaga, DC2 has much better gameplay and is far less mind-numbing. Xenosaga was just way over-hyped for the game that it turned out to be.

So what's that, I'm dissing the much beloved Xenosaga? Nah, it's alright. That's all I'm saying. The battle system was "taken and turned into something much better" (in comparison to XG) That's crap. The battle system was taken and turned into a much more complex and far more dull system. The storyline looks wonderful, the characters seem decent, but I can't get through the game because the battle system bores me out of my mind. That said, gameplay-wise the game isn't very long, so maybe I should just force myself through it for the sake of the storyline. Much too hard to do when I have a fresh copy of Zelda:WW.

No no, I'm not going to worship it for all it's Zeldaness. I can't say I'm a huge fan of Zelda, I've played just about all of them though. So far, WW has awesome graphics (despite their cel-shaded existance, they really are awesome) but they seem to be repeating things. The music returns in the game, while it is a bit more different, it's still somewhat the same old thing from OoT. And once again you're going around collecting things for no reason. (Because a talking boat told me to, and me being the little boy that I am will do as he says without taking into consideration the consequences - death) Speaking of death, I've gone through 3 dungeons and I've only died twice. To be honest, I'm pretty bad at most Zelda games. For instance, Zelda:MQ - I've died atleast 6 times in the first 2 dungeons. Why? Because I have no patience. Despite these cliche's (too lazy to do the real accented e) the game is still great. I've seen a lot of fan-boy's saying it just doesn't "feel the same". Well I don't know about them, but I don't want games to feel the same. And you know what? I loved FF8. Why? Because I had entire control over my stats. People complain about the draw system, but it was logical atleast. Sure it was "annoying" to do. So was FFX's best weapon mini-games. "Annoying" means in the end it was rewarding to know you did something that most other's found annoying.

Oh yeah, supposed to mention FFX-2. After hearing that it can be beaten in 6 hours, seeing screen shots of Rikku (sometimes Yuna) being a whore, I really think Squaresoft is starting to sell out. Most people would agree that they sold-out long ago, but I haven't really agreed up until this point. While some might find it uhm? Refreshing? To see a girl in a thong, I don't see much of the point when it's in a video game. Sex appeal makes things sell. I'm not going to say I don't dislike seeing a female in skimpy clothing..but I want to see a female in skimpy clothing wielding a 6 foot katana and kicking everything's ass that steps in her way. (Dark Cloud 2 manages to succeed in this way, but they make you work for the skimpy clothing and katana) I understand video games attempt to appeal to people, but I want a game for it's gameplay, not the way the characters look. Sad thing is, I'll still buy FFX-2 and I'll still probably enjoy it. It's a cold harsh world for people without money.

To wrap it up - Dark Cloud 2 beats out any other RPG released this year. Xenosaga has a great story thrown about a bunch of crap gameplay. And FFX-2 in the end will be great, but if I see an FFX-3 in the works then Square officially sold out.

~Masamune~ "Hey what's this big furry green thing in front of me?" "JUSTIN!" Do you remember this quote? ^^ Good old Grandia.

Your comment about IGN reminds me of EGM's 'Games of 2002' awards. While Super Mario Sunshine won for Best GC Game, Metroid Prime won for best overall. Now, while I agree with this, wouldn't being the 'best game of the year period' also mean it was the best one on the GameCube? I just don't get the logic behind that.

Xenosaga's been commented on above, and Zelda was a bit, but... You don't exactly collect things for no reason. I know it's a series tradition, but there very much IS a point to the pearls, and then the uh, other things, later on. I mean, would you rather get nothing for completing a dungeon? I didn't think so. :P It is easier than probably any other Zelda game though, I'll give you that. I don't think it's such a horrible thing, but the bosses especially pose no real challenge, so they're kind of disappointing in that regard. The battles are definitely fun and unique though, so that's okay.

I don't consider FFX-2 a sellout. It's short, yes, but from my understanding, it's meant to be played multiple times with it's Chrono Trigger-esque "New Game+" feature (I don't know what FFX-2 calls it). To be honest, there IS a Knight class if you wish to see said hot girls wielding a big sword. Plus, I've seen a lot of the outfits, and they aren't all skimpy. Some of the designs are pretty cool, and yeah, some show a lot of skin, but hey, the outfits don't define the game. We'll see if my opinion changes when I play it, but I'd rather look at the whole picture than just a handful of aspects. Oh, and while Square has already said an FFX-3 is pretty much not going to happen, I still don't see how it's a sell-out. They rarely rehash things (go look at Capcom for that), and even FFX-2 is wildly different than FFX. As long as they keep things fresh, it's fine with me.

 
Spelling and grammer is ur friends

hey liz, I wrote eirlier, that a Camelot rpg is in the workds for gamecube, and that monosolith is making a rpg. Well they are not rumors, they are actually confirmed. Just check ign, ningc, a lot of sites have listed a Camelot rpg. As for the game, they don't know, but it was Confirmed. Also Monoslith are in the works of another rpg, for the Nintendo Gamecube, and PLaystation2, along with Baten Katios. That was confirmed by Monosolith. Too, so I didn't here rumors, what I heard was actuall confirmation, from sites around the web. Maybe it just slipped past you some how.
First off, the company name is "Monolith Soft". I can't even begin to grasp how you arrived at "Monoslith". Camelot MAY be making an RPG for the GameCube, but the only things for sure right now they have are Mario Tennis and Mario Golf. If you want to insist on those other games being worked on, be my guest. If we didn't report it, you can bet it's because the source wasn't credible enough. Just because it's on the internet somewhere doesn't automatically make it true.
 
More Xeno and FF...

Liz,

Musings on Xenosaga. Hmmmm, I'm still debating whether to buy the game or not. I'll only buy it if I consider the story good enough. I don't think it looks up to par with Xenogears. I watched a preview and saw that android up in space with that GIGANTIC gun and I almost died laughing. So convince me that this game is worth buying. Redeem it for me.

FFX-2. When I first saw the game I was like "there is no way I'm buying this game. This is only for fan boys to drool over." But then I saw some rpgfan pictures of this new girl named Lenne and a guy who looks remarkably like Tidusand that piqued my interest. Is it possible that this game has a plot? A twist in the love story?I am a Final Fantasy junkie. I lovethose games (although I agree with you when you say that FFVII was highly overrated. FFVIII was the best.) So if FFX-2 proves to have a redeemable storyline, then I might buyit,and ignore the girls in their skimpy bikinis.

I know that many people say that FF games are not that good, and that Square has betrayed us. But compare those games with allot of other Rpgs and you'll see that they usually have the best qualities. Of course there will be the occasional game that stands out that is not of the FF series(Xenogears comes to mind) but they are few and far between.When I hear the name Final Fantasy I know to expect at least a better than average rpg, which is why I might give FFX-2 achance.

ShimmerNymph

Hey look, another person who thinks girls walk around the whole game in bikinis based solely on Rikku's "Thief" outfit. :P There's over a dozen different jobs and outfits, so I'm really amazed everyone is SO hung up just on the starting outfits so much. Anyway, plot? I dunno. I hear it's a much more light-hearted game than FFX, and of course, shorter. It almost seems like an epilogue in some respects, as you get to see Spira after the events of FFX. I think that alone sounds interesting, since usually the story will just end on a "We won, let's fix the world" note. Not that it's BAD, but you rarely get to see what happens to the world after the big bad has been vanquished.

I agree with you about the FF series too. I hate to sound like a fanboy (I'm really not - I just know what I like), but of the ones I've played, I've at least liked some aspect of it. Except FFV. Didn't play much, but it didn't grab me yet. So, sure, Square makes mistakes like any developer, but there is a definite quality in the FF games, whether is suits your tastes or not.

Oh right, Xenosaga. While I could comment on the silliness of saying the story "doesn't look up to par with Xenogears", I think it's good. It very much lives up to its name of 'Episode I' and will leave a lot of things unanswered at the end, but there's certainly a lot to take in, just like XG. Despite the technical similarities, and forgive me if you're aware of this, XS Ep I really is NOT a prequel to Xenogears. I like Xenogears a lot too, but I don't think it's fair to compare them, as 'Saga isn't trying to be like 'Gears at all. That said though, like my intro states, it's a great 'experience'.

 
Fake Fanboys

First of all I am not a square fanboy!!!!! I am a nintendo fanboy and i like it that way and i dont care what any one says. but i have to say thought they are sort of newer age rpg's but my faves are FF-8 and FFX. You wana know somethin. It still took me a while to get throught FF-8 With codes. Next I am a nintendo fan boy. so i dont have wind waker. I know it will be a players choice game (nintendo decided to start doing this with there games.) and its price will drop to thirty bucks and it will get a sticker saying itis good and I will buy it. I did not buy GBA because i knew SP or something like it would come out pritty soon. I am currently saving up for soul calibur so i can fight using link. Ya know what being I fanboy I might just by one of those new pokemon games. so dont just call some one a fan boy just because they like an older square game better then a new namco game. Shouldn't companies try to make games better then there predosesers. Is n't that the all american (but partly japanese) dream. BETTER GAMES THEN BEFORE.

Jo Jo controler of all that is after he says:

First things first: You're a Nintendo fanboy but you won't buy Zelda unless the price drops? That's not a fanboy. You're a disgrace to REAL fans of Nintendo and you should burn in hell. *

As for your last comment, I don't think the point is always to make 'better' games, as different things appeal to different people. What one person may consider better could be much worse in the eyes of another. In the case of Xenogears and Xenosaga (which, despite the different companies, are directed by the same person), you can't exactly fault Monolith too much. I mean, this is what they actually wanted to do with the series in the first place. Granted, some of XS's gameplay isn't stellar, but it IS their story and property, so they should be free to do things different. Episode V will likely be quite different than Xenogears is, even.

But in the end, it just comes down to personal opinions.

 
Oh look, more of that game...

I have a question about Xenosaga.

There was a dude that said Kevin gave Cherenkov a devise. 1st let me say thatI completely agree. I thought I was the only one who thought that! Now on to the question. What was the devise used for? I think it might be to awaken Kos-Mos. But why would he do that? If he knew more about Kos-Mos than anyone else I'm sure he would have known that she would go berzerk. So I'm thinking was it used for something else? Just a thought. Oh! I pre-orderd Windwaker. And I got it recently and at first I was a bit worried about the graphic's but the game is awesome! I love Link's facial expressions! Thats all for now.

-The Lizard

I love them too.
 
Right...

i really want to play wind waker and now the gamecube is only 80 quid cos argos cant flog em i might get one, but i have to pay 1100 quid to my stupid uni by yesterday and i aint got it so good luck getting blood outta a stone there lads. and its my 20th bday next month and im doin the monopoly run so that about 24 drinks before i die of alcohol poisoning which is really fun, didi i tell you i had my stomach pumped once cos i drank too much sambuca on holiday, stupid song encouraged me too much damnit, i blame the government or something. i cant believe ican still type relatively cohereently considering things. oh yeah im going to brighton tomorrow in my uumpa lumpa mates super skunk van so maybe we'll fly there and weve got 4 (count em) guitars and a camcorder so i can film us dancing at the red lights again. im gonna entertain the motorway with my special crooning 2 time style-e dancing urban-rural freak mode between the white lines, no red light will stop my insane legs i can tell you. anyway back to reality or there abouts. i hope xenosaga will be released in the UK cos otherwise in might have to steal a US PS2 from the embassy or maybe dixons, i think their the same thing but im not sure maybe i should ask the manager about that. im pretty sure his name is andy from edinburgh but those scots cant speak english for the life of them, you just kinda nod, smile and hope theyll go away like the one we found on the tube at baker street, he might aswell as been talking swaheli backwards for all the difference it made. oh yeah i want ffx-2 cos i liked the first one but if they have those bloody great big black borders again im gonna lash out at the nearest pigeon and/or small furry animal, god help my hampster or that annoying noisey thing we happen to call a dog, i call it a mobile foghorn that eats alot but nevermind.

anyway peace out people \/

Matt D

ARGH DAMN IT. I hate big paragraphs with no breaks inbetween.

...actually, I guess that's it. I was going to say more, but this whole thing is just a rambling, jumbled mess of thoughts put together with maybe an ounce of coherency. There's just nothing more to comment on.

 
Maybe this should have been the frist letter.

Hi Liz, actually this is my frist time writting to the rpgfan letter seccion.

I just want to express how dissapointed I feel for the several web critics to XS, frist of all many reviewers think that a rpg without the FF standars it's not a good rpg.. let's face it lots of reviewers and "gamers" can't see beyond a FF title, thus XS gets the bad weight, several reviewers had said that the story is boring, thrilled and thus rate the game low just because they didn't like it, and almost every xenophobic reviewer says the same thing "there's more plot than gameplay", maybe they were excpecting the ten phrases cutscenes plot of FFX. Every Xeno fan knows very well that the core of Xeno is the story and in the XS case the story gets a great development even better than the XG story (remember XG disc 2?), and it's kinda funny how many complain about the 1 hour cutscenes, the game has an avarage cutscenes time of 15-25 minutes, the biggest one is 40...but Oh a FF title will never get a low score because it's FF... For example with FFX2 I think it's a fanservice game (Yuna, Rikku in hotpants) fallowing the linear FFX story, but after all is FF, we're talking about the power of the hype. In the other hand and fourtunely XS is different and turns off from the FF standars, and sadly because that matter the game gets satanized, "if it doesn't feel like FF (or if isn't FF), the game has to be below it" that's the phsicology of many people (reviewers, gamers)

XS has one of the best storys for the ps2, the best characterization, the best plot and an excellent huge cast of voice acting, a great difficulty level, excellent music, a great villain with personality (not like Seymour)... but..oh... of course is not a FF title, and all goes down.

Many "gamers" should open their minds and try to enjoy different things, and fly out from the FF cage.

Thanx
JP

PS (I apologize for my poor english, but english it's not my primary lenguage)

It's a shame, but this is partially true. Many people are so hung up on whatever is the most popular in any given genre that they fail to understand that other things can be just as good, if not better. Though honestly, Hot Wheels ARE better than Matchbox. That's just a fact. Come on.

I agree with what you say about how story is important as well. Like I said earlier, Xenogears had long scenes too, the only difference was you were pressing X to advance each window. Yeah, wow, Xenosaga sucks for automating this process! Yeah, anyway... It comes down to this. They have a big story to tell. While in this first instance, the gameplay was kinda boring (popular or not, I had a lot more fun with FFX's gameplay areas than I did Xenosaga), the story is there, and they're good at telling it. If they keep that up and refine some things about the game itself (I hate the silence in most areas), the series could be even better.

 
Fantabulously - My new favorite word

I spent every free moment I had on Wind Waker since the second I got it. I have not, in years, been so addicted to a game to the point where almost everything else in my life at that moment came second. "Wanna go see a movie with me? Maybe you'll get lucky! *Winks*" "No, Wind Waker, go away." ..... Well, okay, so the first quote actually came from a guy so my answer would have been no anyways, but that's beside the point. The point is, Wind Waker is fantastic. My only problem with it is that I can't figure out a way to see how many hours I've been playing, cuz I know it's alot. :p It tells you the time and date of your last save but that's about it. I really wish I wouldn't run in to so many evil ijit people saying that the game looks like crap. Do you know how many games I've play recently that have NOT been realistic looking? None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Every freaking one has been making some kind of attempt at realism. I was tired of it and more than happy for the change. And the game wouldn't be nearly as entertaining as it is if it were realistic. I actually laugh hard at some things in this game, sometimes just from the weird visuals. Link animates so fantabulously, his facial expressions are great, and all the enemies have their own unique little look and stuff too that amuse the heck outta me. And it's such a gigantic game as well.... There's plenty to do with the game even after you've completed it, all sorts of little goodies and secrets and stuff throughout it, and lots of little things to do just for the fun of it. I truthfully wasn't expecting to be so happy with the game. I'm pleasantly surprised. :)
It's always nice to hear from someone with a more logical approach to the game than the general public. I'm not sure how far you've played, but I have to say that a lot of the things they do in the game just wouldn't work were it 'realistic'. Try smacking those little squeaky pygmy guys with the hammer and watch them go flying. That's one of the most fun things you can do in the game - and would just be ridiculous without the look of a cartoon. On top of comical touches like that, the animation and expressions are great too. The ironic thing about the game is that, despite the look, Ganon actually looks MORE menacing than he did in Ocarina of Time. How about that. He had the whole 'dark lord' thing down pretty well, but that big nose... I dunno man. He looks downright wicked this time around, proving it's not a kiddy game.

That's also a good point about other games too. Just about every other game tries to mimic reality lately. Don't get me wrong, I love Metal Gear Solid to death, but I always have room for a brightly-colored fun game too. That's what I grew up on, afterall. If I really wanted realism all the time, I'd go outside. :P

 
If you thought the <blink> tag was stress-inducing...

hey who ever u are is that Wind Waker a good game? I dont have the ps2 but my cuosin that lives with me does so I geuss I do sort of. Any ways I wonted to know I dont know why though.My freind let me borrow Kingdom Hearts iv already beat it but I qeuss its alright yo play again.Well whats your fav game for the ps2 mine is between FF10 and Kingdom Hearts.But when FF10-2 comes out itll probily be my fav. well if yall whont to e-mail me my e-mail is shawnstrife2003.
hey yeah wind waker is a good game infact its the goodest game ive played in along time u should get it i no its like cartoon haha but its fun and cool and has cool things liek links sister even tho shes lik 8 and has HUGE eyes shes f*ckin hot man yeah *

Seriously though, learn to type. I'm getting a headache just reading this garbage. Yeah, Wind Waker is good, as I keep raving about it on this page. Get it. If you can't get past the graphics and grasp that it's actually a fun game though, well...you suck.

Favorite PS2 game? Hate to sound like a fanboy, but it's FFX as well. What can I say? Not just any game can get 130 hours out of me.

 
Closing Thoughts

Well that proved entertaining, if not a bit repetitive. So what have we learned? I like Zelda, Xenosaga, most FF games, and heavy doses of sarcasm. That sums it up. A word of advice - Keep in mind this is NOT LIZ HERE, so don't get all upset and send her mean e-mails over something I said. I wouldn't think that would happen, but as Liz got a whiny e-mail in response to something one of her guest hosts said, well... just pay attention. kthx.

~ Mike, who is better than you. (letters@rpgfan.com)

* If you couldn't tell these were sarcastic comments, you suck.



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