Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Level-5 Vision Conference

Gaming developer Level-5 (Professor Layton, Dark Cloud) held its annual press conference today and Andriasang was present for all the details. Here's a link to their live blog.

I'll just narrow it down to a few highlights and snippets.
  • Ni no Kuni, a game being made for both the DS and PS3. This looks pretty cool, an RPG with lots of puzzles.
  • A new Layton game for the 3DS. They will put up a new puzzle for download every day for an entire year. Release planned in the Spring.
  • A new Inazuma Eleven game for the regular DS. These are silly soccer games with RPG elements. Never played them, but if they're anything like the old Captain Tsubasa games, I'll have to try them out.
  • Little Battle eXperience, also known as Danbal Senki. A PSP game, and they're going to be making an anime and manga at the same time. It's a mech/robot game.
  • Mystery Room, another puzzle-style game for the DS. Music by Yuzo Koshiro (Ys I & II, Streets of Rage, and more recently, the Etrian Odyssey series)!
  • Kyaba Joppi, a waitress simulation game for the 3DS.
  • Time Travelers, a crazy looking suspense game for the 3DS. Here's a trailer.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review: Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals (DS)

With clever puzzles, monster rearing and an awesome soundtrack, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is often regarded as one of the best RPGs on the SNES, on par with the Squaresoft classics. Now, fifteen years later, developer Neverlands returns to remake it on the Nintendo DS.

Fans of the original that are looking for a simple port or maybe a port with upgraded visuals are going to be surprised. Curse of the Sinistrals has been remade from the ground up. There has been a ton of outcry over the new character designs, and it’s hard to blame the fans – the simple, traditional fantasy look has been thrown out, replaced by an over-the-top Japanese anime makeover.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Atelier Rorona Artwork

I've been advancing a little further into Atelier Rorona, but it's starting to get a bit repetitive. The characters grow to become likable, but the battles are still too simple and the requirements for crafting are somehow getting easier. My last assignment was to deliver food for a festival. I don't even have to waste time making it, I can just go to the cafe and buy a handful of pies and soups to turn in. That leaves me three months of grinding other quests.

The one outstanding thing about this game is the 2D artwork, done by artist Kishida Mel (岸田メル). I love it so much I thought I'd upload some. All this stuff is from the early/mid-game. Each of the 14 endings has its own illustration, but as awesome as they are, I don't want to spoil anybody.

 Japanese box art. The west gets shafted again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vote for a new Megaman Legends heroine!

Capcom is running a poll in which fans can vote for a character design for a new girl in Megaman Legends 3! They say "new heroine" but it won't be a replacement for Roll.

They also promise that there will be more ways for fans to contribute to the game soon.

Here is a picture of all the females, along with the names of who designed them.

I think I'll have to side with the consensus here and go with Haruki Suetsugu's design. She's currently the leader in votes in the west, while the characters on the bottom row are popular in Japan.

Suetsugu was heavily involved in Zak & Wiki and Zelda: The Minish Cap

And here's an early video of the game.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Retro: Five Random Sega CD Games

I thought I'd play five random games every once in a while, to go back and try out new titles I've never played before. It's always fun finding hidden gems. But with all the crap out there, maybe this wasn't a great idea. Maybe from now on I'll just try to find five games that I like. Playing too many FMV games will make me depressed.

The Sega CD has a terrible rep, but if you can sift past the garbage, there is a small but excellent library. A handful of great shooters, RPGs and PC adventure game ports.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Panasonic Jungle

Yesterday marked the 17th anniversary of the Panasonic 3DO, released in North America on October 4, 1993. Now, Panasonic has revealed its plans to re-enter the gaming world, this time unveiling its Jungle handheld device.

The official site is located at www.welcometo.thejungle.com. Here's a few blurbs:
We began this journey by asking gamers what they wanted. Almost unanimously, we heard calls for online gaming products. Some gamers wanted a handheld, some wanted new content, others new experiences (one dude wanted a tattoo of the Kalphite Queen). In response, the Jungle was born.
Our mission: Create an ecosystem around online gaming.
At the core is a new mobile device concept designed specifically for online gamers. We’re also working with leading online game developers to create some exciting new content.
A handheld made specifically for online gaming. Now you can play your MMOs in public! The only game currently announced is Battlestar Galactica Online, which runs through a browser (?!).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Retro: Gotcha (Arcade)

Atari kicked off the arcade frenzy of the 20th century with Pong, in 1972. Shortly after, they made Space Race, a two-player game where the goal was to reach the top of the screen before the other player while avoiding obstacles.

Noticing the phallic symbolism of the traditional joystick, Atari thought they'd play a joke and make the controls a little different with their next game, Gotcha.

Those are breasts.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Atelier Rorona (PS3): First Impressions

Only halfway through the second assignment (there are 13 or so in total), so take this for what it's worth.

Never played an Atelier game before. The series is huge in Japan and has been thriving since the original PlayStation. The first game to reach the west was Atelier Iris for the PS2. Rorona is the latest game, just released in the US for the PS3. I have played the first Ar Tonelico, Gust's other flagship series, and although the battles/crafting were very simple, I loved the music and in-game world. Hoping for more of the same with Rorona.

Here's a brief overview of what I've encountered so far:

Friday, October 1, 2010

3DS to Download Firmware Updates Automatically?

There's no official text source, but a lot of places are reporting that Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced Wednesday that they are "looking into having automatic system updates via the internet," in regards to the 3DS. This is done by a feature called "SpotPass," which will allow the 3DS to update even in sleep mode, as long as it has internet access.

No news further than that. The big question is whether you'll be able to turn automatic updates off or if they are forced. Fans of homebrew or less legal things ought to be worried if they are interested in online services. And if Nintendo handles 3DS firmware like Sony handles PS3 firmware (by completely removing features), everybody should be worried.

Yet Another Review: Knights in the Nightmare (DS)

Despite its relatively short track record, Japanese video game maker Sting has quickly become one of my favorite developers of the modern era, releasing a number of quality handheld titles on the WonderSwan, GBA, DS and PSP. They aren't afraid to take risks and try something different, and as a result, their games feel very refreshing. Riviera and Yggdra Union were both a little quirky, but fun. Knights in the Nightmare is flat out crazy.

It doesn't really fall into any one genre, making it difficult to describe. I could probably write a book about the mechanics. In fact, the in-game tutorial is split up into something like 100 different sections. It takes somewhere around an hour to get through it, but you won't fully get used to it until a few hours of actual play. Definitely not a game for those that just want something to pick up and have fun with. However, if you're willing to put in some time and effort, I can't think of a more enjoyable game on the DS.

Again, it is very difficult to explain, but I guess I'll try. At a glance, it looks like a traditional isometric strategy/RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre. But you don't control the characters directly - you control a small, white wisp using the stylus (on the DS). With the wisp, you select a weapon, drag it over to a fighter, wait for it to charge up, and then lift the stylus off the screen to attack.

The thing is, this game takes place in real-time. Enemies (with a couple of exceptions) don't target your knights, but instead shoot out various bullet patterns that you must avoid with the wisp. In that sense, it resembles a shoot-em-up, minus the shooting. Each enemy type has its own attack patterns and special attack. It might seem easy dodging slow bubbles from slimes in the beginning, but it gets insane later on, with as many as four tough enemies constantly shooting while various obstacles like catapults are also going off in the background.

 Here, the player must navigate the wisp
 around a bunch of falling stars.