January 6, 2005

Hello, everyone.

I have to say, I now see why everyone has gone on and on about Katamari Damacy these past few months. It's incredibly addictive...at least when I have the music volume turned down. I could only take so much of that "NA NA NA NA NA" stuff before it drove me nuts. :P

Speaking of nuts, see if you can detect a theme with today's update. :P

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Yuri Love, Part One.

I must say I was quiet surprised with the 2004 awards. While 2004 has definately been an incredible year for RPG's (I've never looked forward to so many games in one season), I couldn't for the life of me understand why Star Ocean topped the list. While it was my most anticipated game of the year, it also became the bigest letdown of the year. It was the only RPG to come out this year that I quit playing out of boredom.

By far the biggest surprise of the year was Shadow Hearts II. Not only did it become my favorite ps2 RPG, it knocked Suikoden II off the #1 spot on my favorite RPG of all time list. Every charachter has specific sidequests and the game simply achieves a level of entertainment that no game to this date has compared to. Kudos to Midway for doing a good job with localization, it's great to be able to play a game with so much voice acting that doesn't go the anime actor route. While I like Lia Sargent, Wendy Lee, Ian Hawk and Tony Oliver, when you hear them in Xenosaga, .hack, Star Ocean etc. you can't help but get tired of hearing the same actors playing so many roles in so many games and sounding the same. I enjoyed Tales of Symphonia and Baten Kaitos etc, but Shadow Hearts II was the biggest treat of the year (in my opinion ofcourse). Not only that, but being able to unlock every cutscene in the game so you can watch the funniest, saddest and coolest is also great.

That isn't to say I won't finish Star Ocean. I would feel stupid passing judgment on a game I haven't yet completed. I just only hope the second disc is much better than the first. Once Suikoden IV and Full Metal Alchemist are completed, I will give the game another chance.

Well, one of the reasons you saw SO3 on so many lists is because the game was probably the most anticipated of all the RPGs released last year. Nearly every RPG player wanted to get their hands on it. That's probably a reason why you see so much hate for the game; it didn't live up to everyone's grand expectations. Personally, I enjoyed the game quite a bit. If I had gone through the trouble of doing a list, it easily would have been number two.

What would have been first, you ask? Shadow Hearts II. It has literally been years since I have been so impressed with a traditional RPG.

Yuri Love, Part Two

One question - No one mentioned Shadow Hearts: Covenant. I thought it was the best RPG of 2004. Any reasons why not?


Like I said in the last update, we're only human. We can't play every single RPG that comes out.

Let's face it: compared to the Star Oceans and Fables of the gaming world, Shadow Hearts: Covenant was a relatively low-key release. Fewer people played it because fewer people had heard much information about it. And when your funds are tight, are you gonna go with the game you've heard tons of praise about...or are you gonna go with a game you've only heard a little bit about? I think the choice is pretty clear.

Yuri Love, Part Three

HOW... oh HOW did anyone not list Shadow Hearts: Covenant as one of the best of the year!!! If not the BEST!!! The game is exciting, original, down-right funny, and a blast to play. Shocks me...how any editor could leave it out.

Shaun Klansnic

Indeed, Shadow Hearts II WAS a blast to play. There are very few things I can complain about in that game, and those things are so miniscule that they aren't even worth the effort of typing up.

Unfortunately, that's the way it goes when so many good games are released at the same time. Some games are going to end up getting the proverbial shaft. SHII seems to be that sort of game...amongst the staff, anyway. :P

Closing Thoughts

Well, the people have spoken...and the people love their homoerotic vampire wrestlers. :P

Feel free to send in some more letters regarding our 2004 game list.

~ Daniel Stringer (letters@rpgfan.com)


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