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Flash of the Blade
April 28, 2005

Hey, an update! It should've been done last week, but I was too busy fighting off the gloomy depression that strikes me once a year on my birthday. :P

To the letters.

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More violence talk.

Hello again,

Ok, I'm not sure if you got my point in my last letter, perhaps I didn't word it the best... Non-stop sex and violence is exactly what I don't want to see in my RPGs. Take for instance God of War...heads and limbs flying everywhere and a mini-game where you get to have sex with two women? While this is titalating(sp), this is not what I want from RPGs. A good RPG is a good book to me, I want to be interested in the characters, and as such just spending more time on how two characters are teaching each other to whistle or laugh (I'm looking at you FFX) does not constitute a good "relationship" to me. The only way that their relationship stood out from anyone else's is that it was the only one there, IMO. I had no idea why they made FFX-2 as I didn't feel attached to those characters to begin with to want a sequel. How about a relationship that feels a little more tangible? I really don't know if that is because relationships are different in Japan or what, but at this point in my gaming, I'd like some meat between the bread. Secondly, to do with violence, okay...I don't want blood squirting everywhere, or guts spilling onto the ground, but I want realism (realism in a fantasy world..hahaha...*shrug*). I remember the first time I saw blood in an rpg (I think it was Xenogears, not sure) but all of a sudden I said to myself "What? That person got hurt and they bled? This is amazing!". _Not_ because I enjoyed seeing them bleed, but because I could identify with them at a whole new level. When I'm playing a game, running along, run into a goomba and turn into a smaller version of myself, fall off the screen and some funny "Sorry, try again!" music plays, I'm not gonna feel that bad. Add a little realism and suddenly I find myself in the position to say, "I identify with that. I want to find out what happens next." Anyways, _thats_what my position on that was. As for the responses I got, nodnod. Thanks for pointing that out. I don't spend a whole lot of time on the computer gamewise, but I'll be sure to check those out. As for the Digital Devil Saga, I completely agree. Well...I'm sure this letter has been longwinded enough, thanks for your time and keep up the good work.

If you're not sure what this gentleman is talking about, go back an update or two. :P

Yeah, I know you weren't suggesting that more RPGs needed higher levels of violence. I just used your letter as an opportunity to get up on my soapbox and preach about something that was on my mind, and other people kinda ran with it. It happens every now and then. :P

A more "tangible" relationship would be good to see though, wouldn't it? It's just sad when the best relationship you can think of in a game is Squall and Rinoa.

 
Mmm, post apocalyptic Morrowind.

I've been reading RPGfan for quite some time (I discovered your site through a link included in the Thousand Arms' bonus CD...How old is that game?) but never felt the need to write in a letter...until your mention of Fallout 2.

I'm both a console and a PC gamer, though unlike most of my switch-hitting kind, I have no real preference for one over the other. The thing is, I thought that you did. Though I love RPGfan (And have submitted a few editorials in the past) I always got the feeling that PC RPGs weren't looked upon favorably here.

Now I know the truth! You are a Fallout fan, and now I must ask you a question.

How do you feel about Bethesda taking over the single player Fallout world? I know someone else has the rights to any future multiplayer games in the series, but a lot of whining and moaning has been going on ever since it was announced that Bethesda was doing Fallout 3. As for me, I think it's great. After all, Troika makes great games that come packaged with even greater bugs, and Black Isle pretty much dropped the ball with their hacked-up (read: incomplete) sequel to KOTOR...so it only makes sense that the original kings of non-linear gaming make the sequel to the game that resurrected the genre.

Well, I need to somehow fit both Jade Empire and SMT:DDS game into my schedule. Both are triple A-class RPGs, and you really need to jump into them once you give Horrigan the old heave-ho. Good Luck!

-Carl

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to replay Fallout 2 as I planned. The disc has one tiny little scratch, but it's apparently enough to completely botch the installation. I was not a happy camper for those hours I spent trying to make it work. :P

It's true that there aren't many PC gamers on staff here these days. The only ones I can think of off-hand are myself and Webmaster John. Not sure why that is. Maybe because there just aren't as many good RPGs coming out on PC these days.

Anyway, I couldn't be happier that Bethesda is carrying on the Fallout name. I'm a huge fan of the games they've done in the past. I've played Morrowind more times than any sane man probably should. I enjoyed Daggerfall BEFORE its fifty patches. If they do as good a job with this new Fallout as they did with those two games, then there's nothing to be worried about.

Heh, I wish I could play Jade Empire. Being a Bioware fanboy, it pains me that they released that game on the one system I don't own. I just hope they port it to the PC.

Wow. Someone older than me. :P

Hey there Daniel,

I think I might be playing a little bit of a devil's advocate on this issue of more "mature" games, but mostly I'll back it as my personal opinion.

Now, I'm 31 years old, but while occasionally I can enjoy the kinds of games you and other people have listed as being "well-written" and "mature," most often I find myself drawn to games with simpler premises, lighter themes, younger characters, less robust and detailed writing, etc., etc.

Maybe this is because I fancy myself an optimist, and to me the idea of a brave bunch of guys melding their strength and courage to overcome all odds in the face of great evil never really grows old or cliche. Perhaps it's because I find that simplicity is as great an asset to storytelling as complexity is, or, in other words and to be less oxymoronic, that a balance of the two usually offers better results. Or it could be that I'm turned off by the dark, dreary, and cynical views that a "mature" game often composes itself of.

But no. Probably the biggest reason for my preferences is that I just don't need a more "mature" game, a more "well-written" game, a more "realistic" game. It's not as if I haven't "grown up" or "matured" yet, as you might be speculating. As I said before, I'm 31 years of age, and I happen to be a married man with a full-time career(plus, in the near future I would very much like to have children.) I get enough of the "real" world, the "grown up" world, the "mature" world every single day. Once in a while I just like to have something fun to play--a something that let's me use my own imagination to fill in plot "holes" and character details.

I don't really care about apocryphal definitions of reality, or quizzical examinations and contemplations of the infrastructure of human moralities. If I did, I'd probably read textbooks. But such things seem so unnecessary in an RPG when all I want is to have a bit of fun.

And just in case you were wondering, I certainly don't feel that my intelligence is threatened by a video game. :)

Regards, ;)
Ryan

Well, that's certainly an understandable viewpoint, and it's one that I actually follow. I mean, could anyone really want to go around playing nothing but the Xenosagas and Shin Megami Tenseis of the world? I certainly couldn't. There's got to be a Zelda or a Grandia in there somewhere to break the monotony.

My only problem is that the balance seems to be skewed towards RPGs that are a little less high-brow, so to speak. All I ask is that we get a few more options.

 
Closing Thoughts

Yet again, a letter prompts me to go start a game. While I proceed to beat down cliff racers with my bare hands in Morrowind, make sure you send me in some letters. :P

~ Daniel Stringer (letters@rpgfan.com)



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