That’s right, the mailbag has returned! Since I can’t think of anything witty to kick this off, let’s just get straight to the letters portion of the show.
Hi, VGR Folks!
The shelf of unfinished games I have is longer than my arms. Classic PS1 RPGs. PS2 Epics. The list is too long to name. The games seem to fall into four categories:
Games I set aside because something newer or more interesting came along
Games I quit playing because I hit a boss monster that was impossible to beat
Games I quit playing because I took up WOW and intend to go back to but never do
and, lastly, Games that are unplayable
Some of the First Variety: Phantom Brave, Legalia 2, All 3 Shadow Hearts games
Fun games but not fun enough to play to the end when something bettter comes along.
Some of the Second Variety: Star Ocean Second Story, Star Ocean 3, Grandia 3, Dragon Quest VIII
This sort of game really annoys me because I know that in most cases, the level of difficulty was ramped up for the U.S. versions. Insanely difficult I can buy into. Impossible to Beat I find aggravating. The worst of these type was Star Ocean SS where, upon entering the final tower in the second half of the game, you run into three sub bosses who can hit your all of your characters six times for every one of your moves (not for every turn – for every move of each character each turn) and the only way to beat them is to have equipped some useless
(up until then) items called bunny slippers to speed your characters up. The trick is that these items are not available anywhere in the second disk. You had to acquire them early in the game and keep them in your inventory. Grrrr.
Some of the Third Variety: Final Fantasy XII, Ar Tonellico, Psychonauts, Oden Sphere, Persona 3, Wild Arms 5
My current favorites right now are Persona 3 and Wild Arms 5. I will
ever go back to them if WOW ever releases my soul.
Some of the Fourth Variety – happily, the list of buggy, unplayable games was a short one. Unhappily, these games were highly regarded by many but I was unable to play or finish them because of glitches in the game.
Dark Cloud 2: At one point, you have to go into a dungeon/cave and have an encounter to advance the game. At the point where you click on a dialog box, the game locks up. The only way to advance beyond this point is to beat the boss but NOT click on the dialog box… save the
game and quit. Then start it up again, load the save, and skip the cinematics that come next. No, the disk was not scratched or damaged. It was a fatal bug in the software code.
Valkarie Profile 2: This is the first time Squeenix ever dropped an unplayable turd in my Playstation 2! The game locks up part way through playing the tutorial. What a pity.
The above are just a sampling. I have a bookcase full of unfinished RPGs.
I have found that several things are getting in the way of my RPGing – World of Warcraft being the major time-waster. I find I really like playing with other gamers on the other end of the mouse so much that console RPGs seem rather bland. Second, I will be 52 this summer and are greatly aware that I have fewer years ahead than I have behind. And I find I am losing patience with 140+ hour epic games. Lastly, having become a homeowner, I find that real life keeps intruding on my gaming time with annoying frequency. For example, right now my cats are clawing on my legs because I am typing this instead of feeding them.
My best to you all,
What’s up CS? You pretty much hit the nail on the head for me–World of Warcraft has killed a lot of my console gaming ventures. Hell, forget not finishing games. There are several brought up in today’s mailbag that I haven’t even started because of WoW’s siren song. Why bore myself stupid with Final Fantasy XII for 90 hours when I can bore myself stupid in Outlands and have virtual company doing so?
There’s a reason I roll with the DS more these days: I can check in on my town in Animal Crossing, or try and get a gold medal and win Cooking Mama’s starry-eyed approval, while I fly halfway across a continent to make a raid. Multitasking.
CS, I got about a third of the way into your email, then my eyes crossed and I needed to have a drink and a lie-down. Suffice it to say, you have a lot of games you’ve never finished. Well, that’s something I can certainly relate to. Maybe it’s all the drinking and lie-downs that’s doing it. Perhaps when “Intervention: The Game” comes to market, I’ll be cured for good. Oh, who are we kidding? I won’t finish that one either.
I’ve just read your offers in VGR and I’m experiencing the exact same syndrome as the one described by Kelly.
Games I’ve not finished..
Grandia 2 – I was distracted by Final Fantasy 7
Final Fantasy 7 – I was distracted by Impossible Creatures
Impossible Creatures – ” ” ” ” Paraworld
Paraworld – it got boring
Black & White – distracted by Black & White 2
Black & White 2 – Used cheats and hacks to zip through it
So basically, i’ve been drifting in and out of games like an addict experimenting with different drugs. And frankly, I’m starting to lose the enthusiasm i once had. Similar to the addict losing the ‘high’ from heroin.
Do you guys feel the same way?
Oh and by the way, what happened to Ben and Ryan? I haven’t heard from them in a while. I’ve been waiting for their recaps for Breath of Fire 3 and 4 since 2005…. -.-
Those are the most hilarious, i must say.
I have to admit I’ve been feeling a bit of videogame malaise. I think part of it for me (aside from the aforementioned WoW issue) is the slow death of the PS2 and the knowledge that, to continue playing RPGs into this next generation, I have two options:
- I will have to suck it up and try to enjoy these newfangled, non-Japanese RPGs, and I’m sorry, but I can’t get into it. Oh, I get to choose whether to be good or evil? My actions choose the story? Whatever, back to WoW. If you have a real story for me, that doesn’t involve lazy writers wanting gamers to do their work for them, get back to me.
- I will have to eventually buy a PS3, because it seems inevitable at this point that the series I love will be going that way (unless something changes in the gaming landscape). It kind of ruins the wait for me. I’d love to see a new Suikoden or Shadow Hearts game, but it sucks to know that I might have to spend several hundred dollars on a console I don’t want just to experience them.
Since you asked, Ben and Ryan married lemmings in a secret recapper ceremony a year ago. Jeanne officiated and I acted as the angry protestor who always shows up just as the couple is about to say “I do.” It was all very moving. Then we all stayed up late into the night, singing the songs from “Oklahoma.”
Okay, so I’m totally lying. I’ll bet you couldn’t tell.
I am sharing Sam’s reluctance to join in the PS3 owning crowd, and Sony’s attitude of “we’ll shit on you and you’ll like it” doesn’t help. I know that I may eventually have to pony up the dough to buy a crappy, overpriced console just to play games in series that I love, even if I won’t end up finishing them.
Generally speaking, I finish every game I play – they just hang over my head and make me miserable otherwise and I can’t stand it.
Legend of Dragoon. I NEVER finished it. Don’t get me wrong – I rather enjoyed playing it. It wasn’t that bad of a game at all. But I gave up on it…or rather, gave up on beating that bloody fuck of a final boss with his four cutscene-introduced stages and incredibly cheap final-form that whoops your party in a matter of seconds.
I also haven’t finished Suikoden III, but I have a legit excuse for that one – school got to me, and I haven’t had the time u.u
Anyways, enough of my braindead ramblings.Thanks for putting up with me this long~
Ta for now, ladies (or rather, little gay boys)!
(also, sorry if the subject isn’t right – my browser was being wanky
and not loading the link properly DX)
One thing that makes not finishing games less of a thing for me–that is, I have a huge backlog and generally don’t fret about it–is that I’ve been able to at least watch most of these games. Legend of Dragoon seems like a bore and a half to me to play, and I lasted all of ten minutes with it. But having a man in the house who tends to finish almost everything put in front of him allows me to see the stories without doing the work. So I can follow Kelly’s recaps with ease. Hooray!
Aw, why you gotta hate on LoD like that? Just because it blatantly ripped off the many RPGs that came before it and featured a move that sounds like “Asshole Drain!” doesn’t mean that it can’t be a thrilling, roller-coaster ride of a game with a completely clichéd cheesy ending. Remember kids, it’s the cheese that makes it good.
I never actually beat Kingdom hearts. I got up to the last string of boss fights, but then couldn’t get any further. I tried leveling, but it was painfully slow, hell, I even used my friend’s gameshark, buy it bugged on the third fight every time making one of the enemies invincible! I ended up lending it to a friend, who did everything in the game in a week, and I mean everything, and copying his save file and beating it that way. But in my mind it still doesn’t count.
Other notables are FF12, which I bought, got 8 hours into it, and then got distracted. And FF10, which I slogged through, and then right at the final boss, the disc decided to stop working. 40 hours of my life working towards seeing Tightass die, wasted
Don’t worry. They made a whole new game just to ruin our joy at Tidus’s death. Fuckers.
I’ve started and finished FFX so many times that the huge “death” scene at the end of the game just doesn’t do it for me anymore. The high is gone. I still get a little choked up when Auron takes his leave to go to the Farplane, especially since I know that he will end up Yuna’s frickin’ cheerleader in the next game. Oh, how the mighty and sexy have fallen.
Dear mystic mailbag women of yore.
Try as I might, I have never finished Final Fantasy IV, V, VI and VIII. The latter, the furthest I got was the start of the 3rd disc, then I abandoned it again.
I played 19 hours of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, but alas, I bought another game (the distracting shiny) and now I’ve forgotten how to use the battle system.
A recent game which I have not finished would be Valkyrie Profiles: Silmeria, I was captivated for 5 hours, until I was forced to level up to defeat the third dungeon but couldn’t be bothered, I also had to study for my yearly exams, then I bought Rogue Galaxy and I haven’t touched it since.
And, if this counts, games that I have, but never played would be Breath of Fire: Dragon’s Quarter.
Strangely enough, I’ve now developed an urge to complete all the games I have.
Corey (Vincent Valentine)
I think a fair few of you know my history with Final Fantasy VIII. Try as I might, I cannot get past that third disc. I have tried to finish the game four separate times, and I think the furthest I have gotten is Squall and Rinoa gallavanting in an unconvincing manner inside the Ragnarok. I have to imagine that, subconsciously, my brain is saying, “Is that where they’re really going with this? Then fuck it.”
I’m another one who has never finished FFVIII, but only because my fourth disk had a huge scratch in it, causing it to hang on the big CGI ending montage. Which thanks to the power YouTube, I have since seen. And can never, ever unsee.
Ah, unfinished, cast-aside, abandoned, or otherwise ditched games. I’ve a metric fuckton of ‘em. My track record for actually FINISHING games is not impressive, and the reasons pretty much fall into three categories:
Category I : “Curse that final boss! For all my super strength, FAQ abuse, and controller-throwing, I cannot seem to beat him/her/it! Curses! I must play a new game until I magically have the power to beat it!”
-Final Fantasy VII. (Sephiroth? Yeah. Never beat him. Probably never will. Haven’t tried it in years.)
-Kingdom Hearts. (I have yet to beat Ansem. And hey, I saw the end of KH in KH2. Good enough, right?)
-Suikoden III. (CURSE that final boss.)
-We Love Katamari. (…Can you even finish this game? Really?
Technically, this is more of a “I can’t beat ALL OF THE LEVELS.” thing, as there is no real final boss.)
Category II : “Blah, this game has gotten old/weird/boring. I need something new and sparkly!”
-Final Fantasy VIII. (Disk three was a turn-off. I have never gotten past it, and I don’t really have the desire to turn the game back on.)
-Final Fantasy X. (…In all honesty? I read the recap of the ending here. That was enough for me. …And my stomach. And my sanity.)
-Final Fantasy X-2. (I’m a girl; I don’t WANT to see three girls prancing about in revealing outfits. No, seriously, costume designers, I DON’T.)
-Suikoden II. (I just… have never mustered up the strength to fully finish this game, and I can’t determine why.)
-Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. (I was playing it on an emulator, and guess what? That’s hard! I lost interest, and then I lost my emulators. Sob.)
Category III: “This game never ends. NEVER.”
-Vagrant Story. (I have played it so many, many times, and I have yet to fully complete it. God save my sanity, I’ve so little of it left as it is. I’m trying to get all of the Titles, and for the life of me, I don’t know why I’m still doing it. The game’s been out for over ten years now. I’ve been playing it for… oh God, I don’t even know how long. Too long. We’ll say that. Much too long. It’s the side-quest that never ends, and I hate side-quests with a passion. Who doesn’t?)
There are plenty of others in the first two categories, naturally – it’s easy to get frustrated or bored with a game, after all. And when the next great game comes along, it’s so easy to drop everything (especially if you’re, well, frustrated or bored with your last game.), and skitter along to it. But sooner or later, don’t we always return to the games we dropped? …Well, sometimes, anyway.
We’ll have to agree to disagree on the Suikoden games–2 was quite good all the way through and 3’s final boss was absurdly easy, in this recapper’s opinion–but I have the same problem, more or less, with the Katamari games. Intellectually, I know they are absurd and fun and that there is no game character better in this universe than the King of All Cosmos. But they make me motion sick and that’s just not going to work for me. So I break them out to play a level every once in a while and enjoy the music until my woozy brain tells me to stop and lie down.
I’ll join you on the Vagrant Story suffering, dear. As many times as I’ve started the game, I’ve never, ever played it long enough to want to finish it. I just can not make myself do it, no matter how many VS fanfolk froth at me. You can have Ashley in his ass-less chaps, fanfolk. I’ll take a battle system that doesn’t make me want to shove bamboo skewers in my eyes.
Maybe I’m just getting old, or else games just aren’t as good as they were back in my day, before every action platform game featured double-jumping for pansy gamers. But in either case, I’ve had quite a few unfinished games the last few years.
I never finished either God of War – the first because I apparently leveled up all the wrong abilities before the big final battle and just didn’t want to play it a second time, the second because of something I can’t remember. Point being, I just don’t care to.
Star Ocean III was fun up until the total anti-climax some dozen hours or so before the real climax… and even leading up to that, I was getting put off by the tired old “let’s kill God so we can be free!” routine.
Xenosaga II and III. ‘Nuff said. (Yes, I actually finished the first one.)
Final Fantasy IX, many a year ago. I don’t remember why, I just decided I didn’t really care about any of the characters (same reason I stopped watching Seinfeld after a couple seasons). Vivi was cool, but that’s not enough by itself.
Oh, and the Transformers movie game. That one’s easy. It just plain sucked ass.
Zelda II. The thunderbird sub-boss in the last dungeon wrecked me every single time.
Finally, of the ones I can recall, there’s the original Famicom version of Final Fantasy II. It’s bad enough that the only way to ensure your characters grew the way you wanted was to beat on yourself. But then, about halfway through the game, the difficulty takes a steep rise, no matter how hardened your heroes are after their hours and hours of self-abuse. I don’t know if the GBA version tweaked this or not.
Well, I’m sure that’s more about me then you’d ever care to know about any of your readers, so I’ll leave it at that. Keep up the good work, all.
I’m pretty sure none of the characters in Seinfeld are supposed to be likeable. That’s kind of the point. They’re pretty much all terrible people, who just happen to get into amusing situations.
I’m noticing a common theme of “I’m too old for this shit.” I think we’re getting to a point where we’ve kind of seen it all in terms of plot and character devices, to the point where game designers are going to absurd lengths to make things seem “different,” like incorporating less-used settings into the RPG fold (Why do we bother with the fairly mediocre Wild ARMs series? Because we love westerns!) and making FFXII’s Fran talk like she has marbles in her mouth. Because underneath these things it’s the same shit over and over again. Now, pointing this stuff out is part of our trade here at VGR, so this is not really a complaint.
I love hearing the “games just aren’t as good as they were in my childhood” argument from people in the peer group younger than mine. It’s amusing. Because in my day, we played Pong! Yes, Pong! And we liked it! It was the only game available on the entire damned system, because it was the Pong system and all it played was Pong!
Okay, so I played my fair share of Atari 2600 games in my day, even the abysmal E.T. tie-in game that was the beginning of a very bad end for Atari. I witnessed the fall of an empire, then went on to play Mrs. Pac-Man.
If I never finish a game, I’d like to say that it is the game’s fault for sucking and has nothing to do with my own awesome prowess as a gamer. However, I will be honest, for the sake of ridicule.
I own a lot of games, like any good woman with a job and an obsession, and a lot of them, I’ll admit, I haven’t finished. So I’ll try to be brief.
FFVII – the graphics and the weird ass translation sucked my will to live. I never got off the first disk [like that]. Considering my rpg fanaticism started with FFIX [I haven't beaten that either], I
was expecting a little…better. There, I said it.
Super Mario Sunshine – I’ll admit, I sold this. I don’t know whether it was just me, or if that game decided it was going to be the bloody bane of my existence, but it was hard, really fucking hard. Harder than Jak2 on Hero Mode hard [I beat that!].
Shinning Tears – I bought this ’cause it was pretty and a few years back, I got my hands on a copy of that old rpg Shinning Force [for SEGA]. I loved Shinning Force. ST was okay, too, but the load times had me flinging my controller into the wall. A ps2 game shouldn’t be making you wait fifteen minutes to go from part a of town to part b of town. It was worse than Tales of the Abyss.
FFXII – I’ll admit, I love this game. But I wandered back at some point to do a few hunts and completely forgot what I was supposed to be doing story-wise. Then Twilight Princess came out.
Folklore – Can we say tedious?
Heroes of Mana – All the little gay sprites amuse me beyond all belief. And the names, the NAMES I tell you. But the battle system sucked ass. Monumental amounts of ass. I got halfway through and then Phantom Hourglass came out [this seems to be a theme].
Ouendan 2 – Since I haven’t gotten all-300s S-Rank on Hidden Mode, I’ll say I haven’t beaten this. And I hate spinners, for the record. Also, I don’t care what they say, Ouendan isn’t left-handed friendly. It is addicting, though. Consume-your-soul, play-’till- your-eyes-bleed, sing-out-loud-on-the-bus addicting. Be warned.
Radiata Stories – This looked good. And then I played it. Dear lord. I didn’t think Square could make a character that was more annoying than Tidus, but they certainly proved me wrong. I *like* little boy characters [better make room for me down in the second circle], but I just wanted to grab Jack’s giant sword and stab him with it. Repeatedly. Jeezuz, but he annoyed the shit out of me. Konami’s done the archetype — spoilt brat Luke fon Fabre comes to mind — but holy crap, Square. Luke was cute. Jack is just an ass.
Well, that’s all I think I’ll talk about today. I need to get back to XenoIII. I’m sure Sam will understand when I say I need my red- headed little boy fix [hooray for living vicariously through recaps].
PS: I’ve been following the site for quite a few years now, but I’m not a forum-ite type person — and it never works for me when I try to sign up, anyways. So yeah, silent!stalker.
I’m an unabashed Mario lover and I had the same problem with Sunshine. I enjoyed it but there were some Shines that were just out of my reach at whatever my skill level is. I got tired of feeling like a failure so I moved on (I want to say to Kingdom Hearts, that sounds about right time-wise). Maybe that’s why Galaxy has been such a joy–it’s a bit easier, to be honest. And I say that with the full knowledge that it took me around two weeks to beat the Luigi’s Purple Coins level.
I think I tried to play one of the Mana games once. The sprites are all sprite-a-licious and all, but it just didn’t do it for me. I’ve never bothered with any of the others, and didn’t really care about the series to try. I’m a slacker.
Believe it or not, but Final Fantasy XII. Yeah, I got it when it came out, enjoyed it thoroughly, hours upon hours…
And then the tower happened.
If you’ve played it, you know what I’m talking about. And even if you haven’t, you probably still know what I’m talking about.
I’ve played through mind-alteringly long “endurance towers” as I call them before, but this one made me stop. I got lost so many times, looked at the same walls, stared at the same Fran Ass-thong and same Ashe Princess Hooker-ware(R) that I lost all lust for it at around, oh…say, level 20.
Funny thing is, I actually completed the damn tower. Yep, got to the top, finally got out… and stopped playing.
There’s also the matter of “Secret of Evermore”. Damn, I just… kept getting lost. I’ve restarted that damn game like 26 times.
FFXII is very much in the realm of games that I watched rather than played. And the man got sick of it too so I’ve only seen the first half. Which is really saying something. But are you really saying you got through FFX-2 and this is the game that offended your sense of women’s fashion?
Oh, gods, the FFXII tower of pain, and those stupid, stupid goddamned Black Orbs that you can’t claim because some asshole nightmare horse or shambling corpse is too busy wailing on Ashe’s ass to cut you a break. I think I need another drink. And a liver transplant before I get out of that fucking tower. Hate that tower. SOOOO much.
Greetings from Germany, VGR!
Once (and still, I suppose) an avid Final Fantasy Fanatic, there was a time where Final Fantasy might’ve controlled my life to an almost unhealthy extent. However, I’ve found that within the last year or so, I just can’t finish them the way I used to.
The last FF I beat and actually enjoyed was FFIX. (I played FFX first, then VII, VIII, and finally IX).
Part of it may be because I am a youngin’ and am what OLD SKOOL GAMURZ throw their keyboards out the window over, but there’s something about the older FF’s I just don’t enjoy.
I’ve tried multiple times to play through FF6, but personally find it to be the same RPG crap tossed into different box art. The characters are boring, the storyline is lame, and the music is somewhat enjoyable. The older Final Fantasy fans treat Final Fantasy 6 in the same respect newer ones treat FF7. To be honest, both games are so undeserving of the hype it makes me sick.
Final Fantasy 5 was an alright game. I made it shortly past the haunted ghost ship yard thing, when my GBA emulator decided that functioning wasn’t what it wanted to do with it’s life anymore. Since then I haven’t really cared enough to try to re-download it.
Final Fantasy 4 I barely got ten minutes into. It seemed ok, I just wasn’t drawn into it the way FFX had drawn me in when I first played it.
Proof though that I’m not a shallow little teenager is my absolute refusal to finish FF12; the storyline, like FF6, was dull, and the characters were stale and reeked of ‘been-done-already’. I got about 9 hours into it, and the last time I even touched the case was when I dropped it back into the rental store bin.
Lastly, I need to finish Xenosaga, as well. The game didn’t fit well with my TV-screen’s resolution, and I just haven’t had the desire to fix it so that it would actually work. . One day, though! *crosses fingers*
Well, I won’t waste your time anymore, seeing as you’ll have tons more mail to wade through.
Alles Aus Liebe!
(P.S. Auron was my first video game love ;D)
I’m assuming you came back to FF6 long after it was in its own time as a game, but that’s the thing. You’ve got to take it in context. Well, you don’t have to, but it’s difficult to say “this has all been done before” about a game that was made when it hadn’t all been done before.
And anyone who is looking forward to Xenosaga needs to have their head examined. I’d make an appointment if I were you.
Hands off the Auron, youngling. That’s right, back away slowly before the fat chick with the sword and the drinking problem becomes angry. That said, I can remember when FFIV was being introduced. I keep telling my husband that we should have kept our old issue of Nintendo Power with the FFIV/Super Metroid double feature. The funny thing is, the issue was all “Yeah, here’s this RPG thing from Japan and it’s pretty cool, but look! Super Metroid!!!!111” In the intervening years, the Metroid series has gone from incredibly rock-solid gaming (Super Metroid, natch) to a pretty but not as exciting FPS game series, while Final Fantasy has become a flagship game series. Sure, FFIV and FFVI don’t have the flash and dazzle of the games that would follow them, but for their time, they were pretty danged cool. You young people, you just don’t appreciate anything these days.
And, seriously, you’re really excited finishing Xenosaga? Junior’s cute as a button, I’ll grant you that, but damn, hon. There were times in that game I would have enjoyed re-grouting my bathroom more.
And that’s it for this edition of the new and improved mailbag. If your letter wasn’t answered, I can only say it’s because Sam and I could only read so much at one sitting, and I for one am easily distracted by shiny things. We picked our favorites from the submissions and went with it.