Pre-E3 Blather
Monday, May 26, 2003

Well, It's been a long time since we've seen the update of the old mailbag. The RPGFan staff has been very busy lately, in the wake of E3. If anyone missed our impressions of our trials and tribulations at the gaming mecca, they can be found here. Liz is still recovering, so I, the great John, will be answering your letters.

Not much has been happening in my neck of the woods, lately. I just finished writing up a review on the new Elder Scrolls 3 Expansion, Bloodmoon, so you can expect to see that in the next couple of days. I've picked up Frenzal Rhomb's new CD, Sans Souci, and it's awesome. Frenzal Rhomb has been my favorite band for a long time and this has concreted it.

Well, onto your letters, I suppose. A couple of them have been answered by Josh, and have been marked so.
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Entertainment loves Recycling!

Hi Liz!

(start rant)

The entertainment industry, including video games, has totally sucked in the past year. So far, all of the games I can think of that will be showing up at E3 are part of a series! The same holds true for already-released games (.hack, FFX-2, Xenosaga) as well as movies (Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions, X-Men 2, and a whole bunch of others that American readers can find in this past Sunday's USA Weekend; there was a whole column), and none of the TV networks have been willing to give new one-hour drama series a chance to stay in their schedule (quite a few series are ending this week, and a lot of new shows were cut after only a few episodes to short of a half or full season, 13-22 episodes). I find it quite sad when a network airs the "Miss Dog Beauty Pageant".

Okay, so Hollywood is in love with recycled plots, but does the game industry have to? I'd be so happy if someone from one of the game companies stood up at E3 and said "We're bringing out this completely new game called ?" Not that I don't like the game series already out there, but it would be nice to see something new. Even Final Fantasy doesn't change much between games. And if no one offers us a new series to look forward to, I say that we RPGFans push a big company like Squenix (that's a much better name, IMO) to take that "big" step, putting money in untested waters. p> (end rant)

And don't let those FFVII-2 fanboys get on your nerves, or the Canucks loss, for that matter. Enjoy E3!

Robert James Funches

Josh: As long as the general public continues to rely more on a game's title than its actual content, sequels will be a major part of the industry. It's become an accepted fact that a new Final Fantasy game will sell better than an original game, regardless of how good the two games actually are. However, when these sequels produce a large profit for game developers, it allows them to take the risk of creating something new. For example, "Squenix", as you call them, are working on an original game called Drakengard (formerly known as "Drag-On Dragoon") that is planned for an American release sometime next year.

John: FFX-2 is DEFINITELY different than any other Final Fantasy game. Unlimited: SaGa is a step in the right direction with experimentation. The game is horrible, but it's Square Enix taking a chance with one of their franchises. It may be a sequel, but it's totally out there.
I hate Darkrider.

According to my calculations, it has been roughly three months and sixteen days since the Mailbag was last updated (give or take a week). I suppose there are a couple of reasons why this could be:

1. You're dead 2. No one has written you any letters 3. You're busy with work 4. You're neglecting your duties in order to play more Fire Emblem

Just for the sake of doing something, I have taken it upon myself to believe that the second choice is the correct one. To remedy this, I've typed up a completely irrelevant list of what I thought were highlights at this year's E3. Sure, E3 has been over for weeks, but that doesn't mean it's old news already...right?

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence - I <3 teh Catselvanai omg!!!11 Out of all the clips I've seen of the games at E3, this by far looks the most interesting, and not just because I'm a Castlevania whore. It looks like the game is a three dimensional throwback to the older games in the series. From what I've seen, it seems more combat intensive than, say, Symphony of the Night. I'm glad. As much as I like Symphony and its GBA quasi-clones, I've been hankering for an "old school" (I hate that term, but it's the only way I can describe it) Castlevania. I especially like the platform elements that I saw in that clip, like the pendulums and swinging across pits with the whip. Speaking of the whip, this game has done something I thought would be impossible: it made the whip cool again. After the variety of weapons found on Symphony, the whip on Circle and Harmony seemed sorta bland. It doesn't look like Lament will share that affliction. I know I probably shouldn't be building up such hype over this game, but it's hard not to.

MGS3: Honestly, I don't know of a single damn person who wasn't completely mesmerized by the footage of this game. I showed it to my inbred cousin Earl, and he was so impressed by it that he quit drooling. It's that damn good. I really dig the new emphasis on wilderness survival. Of course, Kojima excels at the art of misinformation. For all we know, the game could take place on an oil rig. Wouldn't that just suck? Oh, wait....

Okay, I should probably write more, but that first chunk of ranting fanboyism has caused my carpal tunnel to flare up. I'm sure you've probably addressed these games already in your E3 impressions, but now you can do it again. You can thank me later. Speaking of which, I should go and check out that gallery of quasi-nude women from E3. I guess I could read those impressions, too, but they sure do have an awful lot of words. Maybe when I'm sober.

...Wow, I used the word "quasi" twice in this letter. That's just wrong.

Well, that's all I have to say. Now I just have to wait another month for this to get used. I hope I haven't forgotten about it by then.


The Darkrider

John: Quasi's not a word. It's a prefix. I don't like Metal Gear Solid, I don't like Castlevania, and I don't like you!

In all seriousness, though, I don't like MGS or Castlevania.. so, er, I don't have any comments about that. Screw the booth babes gallery, I'm the sexy one, look at the staff gallery!
Yuna Croft: Tomb Raider


What's...going on...how...what! What's going on?!!(exact quote)Yuna's turned TOMB-RAIDER!!! Tidus is with another girl!! Rikku - okay, I'll attemt restraint.What I'm getting at is that Square's totally screwed on FFX-2. Me an sis have just about finished the frikin' long enough FFX, and JUST when it starts gettin' good... THEY TOTALLY SCREW IT!!! Grrrrrrr! I'm a newbie at this stuff, so I'm probably freakin' yall out.Name's Wolphie from the lone star state, an' I absolutely abhor sequals(they always tick me off).Eh... I'd say "have a great time" if I knew where the heck E3 is, but I'll say it anyway... AFter I finish fuming on an on about how bad Yuna an Rikku look with their skimpy outfits and how shallow they made Tidus, a.k.a. "???" look. There's no need for the mystery- we know who he is anyway(eugh).Anyway, have fun there and take a WHOLE buncha asprin, or whatever with you - too many stunning graphical features can split your skull in two after 240 minutes of RPG cruising.Urk... I should know. Almost fractured my cranium while playing FFX for 6 hours straight...Gaaaaa!!! Just writing about it makes me nausiated( not that I didn't like FFX - it rocks)!!

wolphie ( e-mail RECviolin@aol.com)

John: Actually, "????" isn't Tidus. It's the same thing as Lenne in the game. It's weird, and what I looked at was in Japanese, so I didn't know what was going on, either. I'm not a fan of FFX-2, after playing the Japanese version and the english demo of E3. Hell, the Star Ocean 3 demo was all in japanese and I enjoyed that a lot more.

Since you're a newbie, you really should check out some PSOne and SNES RPGs like Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, FFVII, Star Ocean 2, and Final Fantasy Tactics. You won't regret it.
Game companies piss everyone off.

Hey Liz,

First time here but not a newcomer to the site though. I hoping to see a lot of games this E3 and hopefully there will be good surprises. Well finally got my copy of Wind Waker also the got the OOT and Masters Quest free since I preordered. Anyway, there isnt any good RPG for GC, which kinda blows, but not atleast there will be two decent rpg... FF:CC and Taly of Symphonia.

I am big squaresoft fan, dont get wrong, I am not one of those hopeless fan who rambles on and on about games that they would like to see. I am really looking forward to FFX-2 and FFXII. But as I understand that the chance of showing FFXII is very unlikely since, they didnt even any info about it in japan and well E3 is USA based.

As for the games that I am looking forward to for GC are mariokart, F-Zero. Both of those looks just sweet. I just recently gave in and got GBA:SP, I am glad I did since I didnt have a GBA. So now as you imagine, I am buying all sorts of game for it. Golden Sun is simply amazing. Whats the word on Fire Emblem? Is it coming to US or not? I get all sorts of wired news about it.

As for PS2, they already screwed up Fallout. Both fallout on PCs were amazing, but they totally changed it for the ps2 version. Its not even turn based now. Oh well. Whats your thoughts on the remake of MGS:Twin Snake? I was surprised when I learned that Silicon Knights are making it in collaboration with nintendo and konami and even more surprised when they said its going to come out in the States before in Japan. Well this is it for me.

Josh: While the current state of affairs for RPGs on the 'Cube is fairly bleak, there are a few games you can play now in addition to the upcoming ones you mentioned. Skies of Arcadia Legends is a fantastic game, especially if you've yet to try the original Dreamcast version. You can also try the Lost Kingdoms games or Summoner 2, although I can't give you opinions on either of those.

I too am disappointed about Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. It could turn out to be a fun game, just as Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance was, but I was really hoping for a true sequel to the original Fallout games. There's still a strong possibility that a third game will eventually be created, though, so don't be too upset.

Too bad that's the only piece of art on the site...

Dear Mailbag,

Another E3 has come and gone. Some said "yay" and others said "nay." However, I am certain that for each and every gaming fan out there, at least ONE upcoming title has piqued the curiosity.

So here are the E3 2003 games that have piqued my curiosity.:

-Atlus' Game Boy Advance offerings. The remake of River City Ransom has me excited. I absolutely loved that game in my younger days. It was a beat-em-up, but a beat-em-up with depth.

And I am very glad that the US is finally getting Shining Soul, thanks to Atlus. I may want to check that one out since I'm not all that fond of strategy RPGs, but the Shining world is very intriguing. I know many Shining Force fans are in a tizzy because Shining Soul supposedly messes up the Shining timeline, but perhaps it's set in a parallel world or is a "what if?" chronicling would *could* have happened.

And I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a possible Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne localization. I'd put DemiKids in there, but I'd known about those games since before E3.

-Natsume's CIMA: The Enemy. I'm really not sure what to expect from this game. I've always applauded Natsume for bringing out original and sometimes quirky titles, such as Harvest Moon and Car Battler Joe. I'm curious what unique and interesting elements CIMA will bring to the RPG table. Of course, if it's just a good solid RPG, that's fine too. I'd like to check that one out since, as you know, I tend to drift more to the lower profile titles that are often overlooked.

So that's all I have to say...for now.

~Blademaster Dezo

Josh: It's refreshing to read a "Best of E3" list that doesn't include any big-name titles. It seems like most people were all hyped up about MGS3, Gran Turismo 4, and Half-Life 2, but your list is a great deal more interesting. I've never played River City Ransom, but from what I've heard, the GBA version should be a real treat. I've played a small amount of the import version of Shining Soul, and it seems like a fun Action RPG, so that's also something to look forward to. As for SMT3, I've yet to play any of the Megami Tensei series. I've been trying to track down the Persona games, though, and SMT3 does look very cool. I'd like to know how much knowledge of the previous games would be necessary to enjoy SMT3 to the fullest. As for CIMA, the concept seems interesting, but I'll wait until there's more info available until I make the decision to get excited about it.
RPGFan Rules & Mergers

Dear RPGFan,

First off, I would just like to say that I love the website. It has been my favorite source for all RPG related material for many years, and will continue to be hopefully for many more years to come. Anyway, back to the main topic of my letter. I have noticed, as I'm sure many more people have also noticed, that many of the newer RPGs that have been recently have been getting better and better with each release. I remember the good old days of classic RPG goodness, when my friends and I would wonder just what Sqauresoft, Enix, Natsume, and all the other powerhouses of the 90s had in store for us. I am happy to say that as the years have gone by, each of these companies has never failed to impress me with their ability to make some of the greatest games I have ever had the pleasure of playing. It also fills my heart with joy to see that these companies are going back to their roots to produce sequels to some of their best titles. Squaresoft is finally giving us a portable Secret of Mana title, Namco is dishing out new Tales games, and Enix is once again overjoying us with a sequel to their wonderful Star Ocean series. It also makes me happy to see mergers between these companies. When I first heard of the merger between Sqauresoft and Enix, my heart leaped. The sheer thought of two of the biggest RPG powerhouses in history combining almost made my eyes water. I personally am thankful, because not only will we recieve great remakes and sequels to our favorite games, there are also endless possibilties for new ones. Who knows what the upcoming years acould have in store. I for one would love to see a portable version of Chrono Trigger. Lol and I'm sure Schala would enjoy that immensely as well. In any case, I would like to end this letter by once again thanking all of you at RPGFan for a job well done. Keep up the good work!


P.S. I have written two fan fictions. I wrote one based upon Final Fantasy 6, and I sent it in quite awhile ago. I read the qualifications for entry, and I had the impression that although my story had some language and violence, it wasnt enough to make it unworthy of postage onto the site. If someone could please send me an email telling me if they either received my story, or if it wasnt appropriate for posting I would greatly appreciate it. My pen name that I included was Nathan Jones, and my story was tentively titled Final Fantasy Story. Also, i would like to pose a question to whomever is in charge of the fan fiction section of the site. I have written another story, although it is based upon characters of my own making. I was just wondering if you accept those types of stories, or if you only prefer ones based upon actual games. If you dont, thats fine, but i would like to have the leader of the fan fiction section's opinion on my story if I could. Thanks again! and keep up the good work :).

John: Thanks for the praise, man, I love getting it at the webmaster account. Although the merger of Square and Enix doesn't excite me very much, I, too, am excited about a new Star Ocean game.

Regarding Fanfiction, contact our editor at fanfics@rpgfan.com.
I Love the Fishes 'cuz They're So Delicious

Hi Liz,

Either you haven't updated the mailbag in a while because:

a) You haven't received enough letters; or b) Preparing for E3 + Experiencing E3 + Recovering from E3 + Too much work = Exhausted mailbag editor.

If it's the former, then maybe this letter will go towards your quota. If it's answer B, well...get some rest. :P

Anyway, E3 for some reason didn't interest me that much this year. There were no real surprises that grabbed my attention, so I guess I'll just go on anticipating the games that I was anticipating pre-show. Namely Soul Calibur II, F-Zero GC and FF: Crystal Chronicles.

On a side note, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Spirited Away was released on DVD yesterday, BEFORE it's official release date. A rare occurence like that deserves a mention. Verdict? Good. Very, very, very good.

Well, that's it. A short letter, but hopefully not an unwelcome one.


John: E3 this year was great. Sure, they didn't show much outside of FPSes and MMORPGs, but there were a few diamonds in the rough. Wow, this letter must be old when it got to me.. Spirited Away's been out for a while, now...
Closing Thoughts

I am the king of the gods. Either that, or I'm just crazy. I say the latter.

~ John, Man of the Mountain Dew Hat. (letters@rpgfan.com)


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Sunday, September 30
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Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

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Valkyria Chronicles 4 Review

Valkyria Chronicles 4

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