The Gunslinger
August 24, 2005

Ahoy, loyal readers.

Man, you can really tell this is the slow period for gaming. There isn't much going on as far as releases go. But this is always a good time of year to play some older gems, and that's exactly what I'm doing. Morrowind has captured my soul once again. You think taking two characters all the way through would be enough, but it isn't. :P

I'm also still overdosing on World of Warcraft. I can't get enough of it. If you happen to play on the Shadowsong server, send Alisandre a tell sometime...or better yet, send her money; engineering is expensive. :P

To the letters.

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Machines are taking all over.


I have a few quick questions for you =)

Are there currently any PS2 mech-based RPGs or strategy games other than Xenosaga and Front Mission available in the US? If not, which non-Square Enix RPG would you recommend to someone who wants something similar to Xenogears? What is your favorite non-Square Enix RPG on PS2? What is your favorite GBA RPG (if you have one)?

Thank You!!! =)

Elliot Eckley

The only other mech-based game I can think of would be an older game called Ring of Red. It was released fairly early in the PS2's life cycle, so it might be a little hard to come by these days. It's worth the effort, though. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I encourage you to go read Alan's review, as we seem to agree on pretty much everything. It's hard, though. Consider yourself warned. :P

My favorite non-Square RPG? Well, I have to split this up, because I can't bring myself to choose between these two games. My favorite action-oriented game on the system is easily Dark Cloud 2. As far as I'm concerned, it's a masterpiece. The story could have been stronger, but it can't be beaten as far as pure fun goes.

If you've been paying any attention to the last few updates, you know that there's one traditional RPG that has captured my heart: Digital Devil Saga. I can't praise that game enough.

And my favorite GBA RPG? That's easy enough: Golden Sun. I enjoyed every single second of those games. Riviera is pretty good, too.

You really want some of the worst remakes known to man? :P


What is going on with the Ys series for the US? I though Taito or Konami bought the US rights to the entire series. The best RPG series in my opinion. Will we see any more Ys games on US Shores for the PS2 or PS3? I think RPGs are extremely popular right now and more so when the original Ys games were released. Now's the time for them to start giving the US what they want...More Ys! More or less I want to know if we(United States) will every see an English version of YS IV: A New Theory; and perhaps remakes of the previous games.


Okay, here's the deal.

Taito made two remakes of older Ys games: Ys III and Ys IV. Falcom didn't have a whole lot of involvement (if indeed they had any) in the creation of these remakes. And from the accounts I've heard, their lack of involvement is evident. One of our import savvy reviewers always brings up how horrible they are whenever they are mentioned, and he apparently isn't alone. If memory serves, Famitsu gave both remakes distinctly average scores.

Konami bought the rights to Ys VI, but I don't have a clue if those rights included the rest of the series. It would be nice, as Oath in Felghana DESPERATELY needs to be released here by someone. It's a fantastic game; I just wish I could understand it. :P

With this recent merger between Square Enix and Taito, it raises the possibility that the Taito remakes could be released here by Square. That could be interesting. :P

Ah, the beauty of simplicity.

I've given it a lot of thought, based on RPG's that I just find to have good storylines... and most people find to have good storylines. Philosophical discussion, motivation behind the catalysts of certain events and so forth are popular discussion among the RPG with a more complex plot -- but giving it a lot of thought, whether it's truly good or not, does it come together without a hitch?

While on the gameplay front, it fell somewhat, Suikoden III had a storyline that wasn't particularly convoluted or overly complicated, and could be summed up pretty easily. Yet, it was on this very front that it was so successful. The motivations were understandable, the events easy to relate to, and the entire thing came together without much debatable glue, with the main cast of characters ranging from fascinating to simply endearing, and they never seemed out-of-place.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have Chrono Cross. It's enthralling, it's enticing, it's fascinating, and it's also highly subjective. The whole plot comes off as a great deal more intriguing than the one in the forementioned Suikoden III, but it had a habit of being vague and confusing at many points. The point I'm trying to make is...

Maybe it doesn't always need to be really convoluted. Maybe it doesn't need to pose a large amount of philosophical implications and deep meanings behind everything that happens -- maybe, it's just as good a technique for it to be understandable without having a ludicrous amount of obscure references to semisolutions for the questions posed.

Does a game's plot need to be like Xenogears or Chrono Cross(both rather acclaimed in that area) to be a great plot? Or, as long as it isn't simply poorly-written, is it enough for it to be simple, effective, and understandable?.

There's certainly a time and a place for RPGs that have gargantuan plots. Xenogears will hold a place in my heart forever because of its mixture of plot, characters, and gameplay. However, just because I enjoyed that game doesn't mean I want every RPG I play to be just like it. Sometimes you've just gotta play something simple.

I think this is why I enjoyed Final Fantasy X so much. Yeah, the plot was pretty simplistic even by Final Fantasy standards, but it was enjoyable for the gameplay and the characters. Oddly enough, this is pretty much the polar opposite of the Xenosaga series. The plot is wonderfully thick, but the weak characters found within don't carry the plot well. I'm sure they COULD become strong characters, but there's still so much mystery surrounding each of them that it's hard to appreciate who they are.

This is why I play so many action games these days: when I play a game, I usually want to get AWAY from deep thinking. I'm not saying a want a plot spoon-fed to me, but at the same time I don't want to have to diagram it to make sense of things. :P

Closing Thoughts

Well, I've got a date with an Ashenvale raid. Send in some letters so I'll have something to do when I'm not in Azeroth. :P

~ Daniel Stringer (letters@rpgfan.com)


Twitch Schedule & Status

Sunday, August 26
Septerra Core • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

Star Ocean: Second Evolution • 2:30pm PDT/5:30pm EDT
Persona 3 (CYOA) • 5:30pm PDT/8:30pm EDT

Persona 3 (CYOA) • 5:30pm PDT/8:30pm EDT

Kingdom Hearts - Re:Chain of Memories • 2:30pm PDT/5:30pm EDT
Persona 3 (CYOA) • 5:30pm PDT/8:30pm EDT

Final Fantasy IX • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Friday Super Variety Night • 6pm PDT/9pm EDT

Week in Review: Live Edition • 11am PDT/2pm EDT
Persona 3 (CYOA) • 5pm PDT/8pm EDT

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