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Thread: RPG Backtrack: Episode 25 - Blade Runner in the Mist

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    Code: Kirin RPGamer Staff JuMeSyn's Avatar
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    RPG Backtrack: Episode 25 - Blade Runner in the Mist

    For some reason, the last PS1 Final Fantasy gets overlooked frequently. That was all the more reason for us to discuss the game at length, in the hope of increasing its profile.
    FF9, yo.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.

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    I cant wait to get through my work day with this tomorrow. First non staff post woooo!

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    Member sirsniffy's Avatar
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    Who is the main host of this Podcast?

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    It's me. Which is why I barely say anything!



    Actually it's Phillip Willis I believe.
    It's definitely not me, though.

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirsniffy View Post
    Who is the main host of this Podcast?
    Phil and Mike M. They are the masterminds.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm

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    Member sirsniffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macstorm View Post
    Phil and Mike M. They are the masterminds.
    Cool. I am new to the podcasts, and I am just starting to be able to recognize people by their voices. Do these guys overlap with the normal RPGamer Podcast, cause they sound familiar.

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    複線ドリフト!! RPGamer Staff Quin's Avatar
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    I'm occasionally on the Backtrack and the main podcast, that's my British accent on the recent editions of both.

    befriend (v.): to use mecha-class beam weaponry to inflict grievous bodily harm on a target in the process of proving the validity of your belief system.

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    Code: Kirin RPGamer Staff JuMeSyn's Avatar
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    Phil frequently appears on the main podcast, I have enough to do on Saturday mornings, so you won't hear me on it after a brief appearance touting Infinite Space a few months ago. Because we record at a time many staff members find more amenable (though not Quin because of the time zone he lives in) you'll hear a lot of voices on the Backtrack you won't elsewhere.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.

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    Member sirsniffy's Avatar
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    Ahhh, Hi Quin,lol. Thanks for the clarification guys. I knew i wasn't going crazy.

    Anyway, I have to be one of the few souls in existence who doesn't like Final Fantasy IX. I absolutely loathed the game until I played Final Fantasy XIII, then suddenly FFIX didn't seem so bad. But anyway.

    Everything about FFIX just screamed mediocre to me. It was sort of like a pathetic attempt at giving classic FF gamers a classic FF game, but I don't feel like any of the game's content was particularly memorable. The characters were really one dimensional, and I don't really think I got a good sense of who they were, even though they game basically tried to use one or two cliche sentences to describe each.

    Aside from that, aesthetically, Final Fantasy IX really turned me off somewhat. The in game environs{yes, I said environs :-)] were beautiful and really amazing considering the time period and the PSX platform...but the character models were horrendous. When I looked at Yoshtaka Amano's original designs and then looked at the hatchet job Toshiyuki Itahana and Shukou Murase made on them, I almost cried. Now, I know it is hard to render Amano's Castlevania style Zombie people into 3D models, what with the floating grapes and swirly worms and all...but jeez. How did Steiner go from a dangerous looking Samurai type guy to a big fat dumb buffoon muppet?

    I felt like I was playing the game with a whole team of deformed animals. Maybe I have become a bit biased toward pretty human characters, but I felt like my whole team was made of freaks. Now, not all the characters' personalities turned me off. I loved Beatrix, and I loved Blank, Marcus, Cinna, and Baku.

    Another thing I didn't like was the music...it was just so ho-hum to me. I can't remember a single track from FFIX outside of the battle music. Not Uematsu's best work IMO.

    All in all, I felt betrayed. It was billed as a return to classic Final Fantasy, but it was more like a way to cash in and make some quick $$ off the Final Fantasy name while FFX was in development. It was the most hollow, Final Fantasy experience I ever had. I don't understand why I didn't love it. It had EVERYTHING people say was missing from Final Fantasy since FFVII became the new standard for the games. Yet...it just didn't do it for me.


    The game had a good battle system though,

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    A Fabulous Amnesiac Clix's Avatar
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    Due to my silliness, I missed this podcast (not that it matters since I fall into the love-party, so I don't have a bunch to add).

    Sir Sniffy, you actually raise a point I usually don't think about, except when I am actually playing the game. The cast of FFIX is easily the most fantasy-based cast, beating out even the MMOs and Ivalice. For example, FFXII had several races to draw a party from, but five of the six party members are humes, and the only non-hume is from the most hume-like race, Viera. FFIX, conversely, had very loosely defined humans. For example, Marcus, Cinna, Baku, Brahne, and Amarant are all humans... despite their clearly inhuman appearances. Even the more conventional humans, like Steiner and Blank, all have odd aspects, such as Steiner's body frame and Blank's Frankenstein scars/patches. The more human-looking characters (Zidane, Kuja, Garnet, and Eiko) are not even "human" in the worlds of FFIX. Then there are the Quus, Black Mages, and Bermecians, all which are very clearly not humans. The fact that all of these races and demi-races are used in the party is unique for Final Fantasy, which tends to only have a token oddity party member if any.

    P.S.: Hate the battle system. So. Incredibly. Slow.
    P.S.S.: HATE TRANCE
    P.S.S.S.: When will this be up on iTunes?

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    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Mike is actually the mastermind. I'm just the pretty face. Really. Oh, and I hit the record button. Love that button. Just got to remember to hit the SAVE button before the CLOSE button. Very important.

    SirSniffy, I didn't like FFIX on my first play through. In fact, I didn't finish it. Later on, I decided to force myself through it. After doing so, I was glad I did. I enjoyed the story and characters, as well as the setting. I agree, however, with Clix's sentiments regarding the battle system. They echo my own. That's why you'll often hear me rant against traditional JRPG battle systems, including the newer games like DQIX. I just have little patience for archaic battle systems that move really slow. It was outdated when FFIX came out, and its outdated today. There's no reason why we can't use more innovation, and/or speed things up. It would be nice if game developers respected the gamers time instead of finding ways to sink it.

    Anywho, despite this, I still encourage you to play through this classic one way or another. While it may have its warts, it is one of Square's better efforts, and certainly the best one of the PS1 era IMHO.

    BTW... For all those GoG.com (Good Old Games) fanboys who listened to our GoG talk.... they just released the immortal classic, Planescape Torment. I remember looking this up a year or two ago and they were selling for $40+ new. Now you can get it for $10 w/o DRM/CDRom and fully compatible with all windows operating systems.

    Color me impressed. And happy!
    Last edited by jcservant; 09-28-2010 at 07:35 AM.

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    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff 7thCircle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcservant View Post
    BTW... For all those GoG.com (Good Old Games) fanboys who listened to our GoG talk.... they just released the immortal classic, Planescape Torment. I remember looking this up a year or two ago and they were selling for $40+ new. Now you can get it for $10 w/o DRM/CDRom and fully compatible with all windows operating systems.

    Color me impressed. And happy!
    It's about time. You need to do a backtrack where you do nothing but tell people to buy Planescape: Torment for an hour. Don't talk about the game or nothing. Just take turns telling the listener to go buy it. I would think it aged well for modern gamers since it's more text-based than graphics-based, and there isn't much combat.
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.

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    Member sirsniffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clix
    The cast of FFIX is easily the most fantasy-based cast, beating out even the MMOs and Ivalice.
    My aversion to anthropomorphic creatures and mutants aside, FFIX did have a pretty diverse cast in terms of races and styles. I really have to get over my hangups with beast people/animal people/talking animals, etc. Maybe I will go and dig out my SNES copy of Paladin's Quest tomorrow, to help combat my bigotry lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcservant
    I just have little patience for archaic battle systems that move really slow. It was outdated when FFIX came out, and its outdated today. There's no reason why we can't use more innovation, and/or speed things up. despite this, I still encourage you to play through this classic one way or another.
    Again, I am a freak. I happen to like classic battle systems. Also, I tend to be a pretty slow player, and I don't have the coordination or reflexes sometimes to deal with many action based battle systems. I like to take a lot of time to make choices. I can see how it would frustrate others though. Have gamers become spoiled by fast paced action battles?

    It's funny that you say this, because I was thinking about replaying it just to give it another go. Back when I played it, I was so busy with school, and I sort of rushed through it, and didn't complete it. My play style may have colored my judgment of the game. I still have the actual physical copy. I will really pay attention to the dialogue.
    Last edited by sirsniffy; 09-28-2010 at 08:58 AM. Reason: bad speeling

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    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirsniffy View Post
    Again, I am a freak. I happen to like classic battle systems. Also, I tend to be a pretty slow player, and I don't have the coordination or reflexes sometimes to deal with many action based battle systems. I like to take a lot of time to make choices. I can see how it would frustrate others though. Have gamers become spoiled by fast paced action
    I don't consider myself spoiled... but I am grown up now, and my free time is much more limited than when I was a kid playing DQIV.

    My issue is not with the turn based traditional system par se. The reason I criticize the speed is because of how long it takes to play out. Why do I have to wait for 30-45 seconds per turn while each character and enemy trades blows one atta time? I've seen games where, after choosing your actions, everything plays out all at once cutting the time in half. It also looks a bit more thrilling too.

    A secondary issue with the most traditional battle systems, IMHO, is lack of innovation. I grew up playing FF1, DQIV, FFIV, etc. While those games will always hold a special place in my heart, I've grown up. So should my games. Mario used to have just the fire flower and mushroom. Now, even on the "New Super Mario" games (which are classic style platformers), Mario has numerious suits, a double jump, can carry/throw enemies, a butt stomp, and more. Platformers have totally evolved through the decades, and even when doing a 2-D style classic game, Nintendo keeps things really fresh.

    JRPGs can keep the classic turn based formula going, but aside from speeding it up in the resolution phase, I totally recommend finding and implement ways to keep it fresh. Having a variety of choices for characters, in battle, which actually have an impact help. Implementing more strategy and deeper character class progression would also help. Finally, and most important, just come up with some off the wall ideas... see what works.

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    A Fabulous Amnesiac Clix's Avatar
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    For example, FFX, the immediate predecessor of FFIX, uses an even less "active" battle system but it's relatively speedier. The ATB is removed, but any input actions outside of some of the most flashy moves tend to play out quicker. See, FFIX's ATB is kind of a slow-mo; no matter how fast or slow the player, the game will go at a preset speed (which can be adjusted, but the fastest speed is still very slow). Of course, FFIX isn't the sole ATB system... hell, it's on of the last. However, FFIV-VIII were MUCH faster, hence my particular hatred of FFIX's speed.

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    Fire! Fire! Meiuuu! lithorose's Avatar
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    You should rename the 'cast "Canadacast" -we've been protecting the wrong border for years now!

    It would be nice if game developers respected the gamers time instead of finding ways to sink it.
    I think this is what a lot of RPGamers want... loads of time invested in a fictional world...

    A straight turn-based system is also faster because if you know which command you want, you don't have to wait for the bar to fill up. I don't like the ATB. Straight turn-based is as fast or as slow as you need it to be, and can provide options for more complex strategies. Still doesn't solve the problem of X being, of dozens of flashy options, the most expedient attack in most situations.

    First time I played IX it was meh. Replaying it in the Year of FF, it's jumped just slightly higher than 7. 7 still has a more interesting story and characters, but IX is a better game overall, and it's soooo pretty!

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    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lithorose View Post
    You should rename the 'cast "Canadacast" -we've been protecting the wrong border for years now!

    I think this is what a lot of RPGamers want... loads of time invested in a fictional world...
    If that time is invested in actually enjoying the world, learning about the characters, being part of the story, and participating in meaningful battles...that fine. However, when you chip away at my time with poor battle mechanics (Such as waiting for each character to exchange blows, slowly, one after another), that's not investing my time in a way that draws me into the world. That's testing my patience.

    MMO's are the king of this (especially older ones). In order to make sure it takes forever and a day to reach max level, they have really big XP requirement, huge worlds that take forever to transverse, death/xp penalties, and various types of grinding (such as gold grinding) necessary to progress. These are artificial fillers that don't really give you a fair exchange in terms of drawing you in the world vs. the time you put in.

    I'm OK with a game taking a long time to beat as long as the content is solid throughout. But if you make a 20 hour game last 40 hours through fillers like required grinding and slow battle systems...well... yer just going to make me cranky... Oh, and I'll put your game on Goozex faster than it takes to finish one of yer battles!

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    Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff Fowl Sorcerous's Avatar
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    Sorry I couldn't make it to the bonus round recording, but to clarify: if it has the D&D name on it Hasbro owns it. The legalities only gets confusing when you're talking about who else gets to use it and how. Like how interplay could make as many Forgotten Realms games as they wanted, as long as Baldur's Gate was in the title.

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    Angel-Possessed Priestess Administrator Strawberry Eggs's Avatar
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    Excellent podcast everyone! Out of the three Final Fantasies on the PS1, FFIX is the one I'd most be willing the play. The other two. . . perhaps not so much.
    "Tiz, please. You're getting bumpkin all over my feral bikini woman fantasy. "

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