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Midnight Mountain
July 10, 2005

Long time no see, everyone. It's been nearly two months since you last heard from me. I'd like to thank Mike W. for filling in last time during my hour of need.

So what have I been up to? Well, not a whole lot as far as gaming goes. I've been finishing up this last semester of college, so I haven't had the time to do a whole lot. I HAVE been playing quite a bit of World of Warcraft, which is easily the best MMORPG in existence. Go give it a shot if you haven't yet. The first month is free. :P

To the letters.

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SCHLOOOOOOOOP

Hey Daniel

OMG I can't thank you enough for reccomending Shadow Hearts: Covenant, it was incredible. Ehem...well it is incredible, see I'm not quite done yet, but I'm a terrible person because, yes, I read spoilers on-line and know how it ends---I'm so ashamed :( Anyway, it was still and amazing blend of drama a comedy, which was nice because in the dramatic parts i was like "Oh no! This can't be happening" but the rest of it you couldn't take to seriously...like: "that's one giant pussy!" I mean that was funny, because I wasn't sure if it was bad translation or it was actually meant as a joke. But those funny scenes really lightened the game and made it quite wonderful. Now I haven't played the original and I feel really drawn to play it, however as I'm sure you know it's a discontinued game and you can only get it for like $50 on ebay. So what do you think? Is getting the first one to see the story between Alice and Yuri (of course there's Kato's story and the whole thing with Albert Simon too, but that's trivial next to the romance) really worth it? I mean I really liked Alice, despite the fact she was only like in minutes of the game. So, I', putting myself in your hands Daniel, what do you think? Is it worth the money to go back and play the original?

P.S Please feel free to recommend anymore games!

--MI2YS4U

Well, I'm glad I could be of service. :P

Honestly, as much as I like the first game, I'm not sure I would be willing to buy and play it after witnessing the godliness of Shadow Hearts: Covenant. The second game improves on the first one in every aspect, from graphics to gameplay to story. It makes the first game seem to be little more than a blueprint.

However, if you're that interested in the story of Shadow Hearts, then playing the first game will only add to your appreciation. Not only will you get the full effect of Yuri and Alice's relationship, but you'll bear witness to other events that help to flesh out Yuri's character a good deal. Plus you'll get to see characters from the original that were either mentioned in passing in the second game (Margarete comes to mind) or not mentioned at all. Additionally, I think everyone should hear the Sea Mother scene at least once in their life. :P

So yeah, if story is your main concern, then I'd certainly lay down the cash for it. But you should expect the gameplay to be lacking in comparison.

As for other games, I've only played one RPG recently that has impressed me: Digital Devil Saga. It's quite good. It makes me wish I had picked up SMT: Nocturne while it was still readily avaliable.

 
Evil devolution, baby.

Hey Daniel, I have recently put some thought into the whole "Real Time Combat" engine Square has decided to do with FFXII. Upon pondering the concept, I have come down to this conclusion: I'm not freakin' happy. Give me back my turn based ATB system! That's what got me into the whole FF seris to begin with. While I will still try the game, because I blieve it deserves a fair shot, should have kept what made the FF seris great to begin with.

~Demonstar

I disagree completely. I think the whole ATB thing has been beaten to death. While I'm not sure if FFXII will be a step in the right direction, I can't help but be thankful that they aren't bringing out that old warhorse again. The mere thought of having to wait and watch those bars fill up gives me a headache.

Of course, I would have been perfectly happy if they had stuck to the turn based system of FFX. But alas. :P

More recommendations. Not that I mind recommending things, of course. :P

I'm a big fan of rpgs but at the moment I can't find any that seem interesting that I don't already own.I currently have Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne,Digital Devil Saga,Phantom Brave,Disgaea,Y's Ark of Naphistam,Grandia2,and the .hack series.I was wondering if you could recommend any rpgs?For me Gameplay is a big issue but the story is just as important.

Man, if those are the only RPGs you have, then this will be easy. :P

As you can see in the first letter, I wholeheartedly recommend Shadow Hearts: Covenant to damn near everyone. It's the perfect package of plot, graphics, and (albeit repetitive) gameplay.

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is another fine game. It won't exactly stun you with a stellar plot, but it's just pure fun to play. Out of all the battle systems found in this generation's crop of RPGs, I have to say that this one is my favorite. The AI of the computer controlled characters can be a step away from the short bus at times, but it's nothing you can't manage.

Final Fantasy X. My God, do I love that game. It's easily my second favorite entry in the series next to the almighty number four. It should be readily avaliable, especially if you don't mind a used copy.

If you do any PC gaming, make sure you check out Knights of the Old Republic. Even those of us who don't particularly care for the Star Wars franchise agree that it's pure awesomeness.

That's all I got for now. :P But keep your eyes here, because I'm sure I'll be recommending more games in the future. :P

 
Closing Thoughts

Wasn't that fun? I'll tell you what else is fun: bracing for a hurricane. Which is exactly what I'm about to go do. But you can still send in letters. I'll get them eventually. :P

~ Daniel Stringer (letters@rpgfan.com)



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