Tuesday, August 10, 2010

RPGs of the Week: Nothing to See Here Edition

Beyond one PC action-RPG hitting Europe this week, there is nothing coming out at all.

Check out this week's lonely lineup below (August 9 - 14, 2010):

North America


Hazen: The Dark Whispers – Dagger, Funbox – PC

I don't even know what to say. I am so disappointed in you, video game industry.

Lots of Last Story Details

As per request, here is my translation of the recently updated The Last Story official Japanese website.


After having lost all living relatives when he was young, Elza became a wandering mercenary, continually fighting wherever he goes. However, he grows tired of constant fighting just to survive, and dreams of one day becoming a knight. During his first assignment after arriving at Ruli Island, he encounters a strange phenomenon.

The heroine of this story. (that is literally all it says)

The leader of the band of mercenaries Elza belongs to, not only has Quark’s skill on the battlefield helped earn his companions’ devoted trust, but also his skillful single-handed negotiations with various employers.
Quark met Elza at a young age, and has been with him ever since as an older brother figure.

A female warrior who fights with a double sword style, Seiren is the ‘mood-maker’ of the mercenary band Elza belongs to. Though a hearty heavy-drinker with a foul mouth, she also shows a side of deep caring for her companions.
Seiren is a commander who enjoys battle, and stands firm to take the brunt of it without looking back at the dangers.
NOTE: According to official battle screens, her name is Romanized as ‘Seiren’ rather than the previously interpreted ‘Saylen.’ Too bad, I think ‘Saylen’ is a more feminine Romanization. :(

A mage with a perfect command of fire, Yuris may be the youngest member of the mercenary band, but he is highly competent.
A man of few words, and rather unsociable, Yuris put himself into the mercenary business as simply a way to survive.
Yuris is a young man without a single relative; his father disappeared when he was very young, and his mother passed away shortly thereafter.

NOTE: According to official screens, the other two playable characters are named Manamia (the girl with the short dark hair) and Jackal (the larger blonde man).

World of The Last Story

The Setting: Ruli Island
The Last Story takes place on a peninsula known as Ruli Island. Located in the middle of the continent’s only inlet, Ruli Island prospers due to its abundant resources and strong economy, despite the empire proper being undermined by constant turmoil and devastation.

The Bustling Ruli City
Ruli City, located in the heart of Ruli Island, becomes a base of operations for Elza and his friends. In addition to main streets and plazas, the city is characterized by a huge complicated maze of small backstreets.

The Mercenaries who have come to Ruli Island
The mercenaries, among which is Elza, the story’s protagonist, arrive at the thriving Ruli Island, leaving the desolate empire behind them, in search of new work.

The Mercenaries who dream of Knighthood
The mercenary band Elza belongs to accepts various job requests from employers, such as monster suppression. Since mercenaries mainly receive jobs of a violent nature, people tend to keep their distance from them. On the other hand, the knights who serve the Empire have a high rank in society, lead stable lives, and are respected by the people. Elza and his friends, while working as mercenaries, dream of succeeding to knighthood someday.

The Mysterious Power that Dwells within Elza
During the mercenary group’s excursion to some caverns on their first assignment after arriving at Ruli Island, an incident occurs that leaves Elza with a mysterious power.
What could this power truly be? And what fate awaits Elza and his companions?

Control the State of Battle with ‘Gathering’
As a result of the incident in the caverns, Elza gains the ability to use a special power called ‘Gathering.’ Gathering allows Elza to forcefully change his enemies’ focus, creating advantageous situations for his companions.
Upon using Gathering, Elza’s right hand emits a blue light.

During battles in The Last Story, special ‘lines’ can be seen between allies and enemies. These lines show who the enemies are targeting, and are known as ‘Pointers.’ Being able to tell who is being targeted from where can allow you to progress battles in advantageous ways.

The Last Story will be available for Nintendo Wii sometime this year in Japan.

[The Last Story Official Website]

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blueside Announces Shining Legend

Blueside, the Korean developers best known for their Kingdom Under Fire series, have just announced a new DS action-RPG called Shining Legend (apparently no relation to the Shining Force games).

They have launched the game's official site in Korean, Japanese, and English, and though there are no gameplay screens released yet, the site does cover details on the game's story and characters.

According to the site, the game follows the exiled Prince Luchs of the small Kingdom of Alterrain as he returns to his homeland. Unfortunately, upon the Prince's return, he discovers the kingdom owes a great debt and his father, the King, has mysteriously fled.

In these circumstances, Luchs meets a talking cat named Morgan who helps him out, after which the two depart for neighboring country of Junon, whose seven princesses have run away in hopes of finding them for the reward.

The seven princesses are (in order from oldest to youngest):

Erika (19), who is the rightful heir to the Kingdom of Junon, and has trained rigorously for the position. She is also a childhood friends of Luchs. (She is the one in with the blue winged dress.)

Pofosh (18), who outwardly only cares about extravagant parties and traveling in her golden wagon, but inwardly feels very empty. (She is the one in the revealing pink party dress.)

Nana (16), who is obsessed with searching for ruins and relics, then keeping them in her room. Her collection is so large, she apparently lends some of her relics to museums. (She is the one in the short red dress holding the rabbit.)
NOTE: The English site has her description the same as Arphen's, presumably in error. The above description is from the Japanese site.

Elara (16), who dislikes magic, and thinks the world would be a better place through the spreading of alchemy. She sometimes forces people to participate in her strange experiments. (She is the one in the green dress with glasses.)

Thimu (16), who was adopted from the fallen Kingdom of Sosan, and dreams of becoming a great pirate after reading about the legendary "Bloody Rose." (She is the one with the long pirate jacket.)

Arphen (16), who is a half-elf, and obsessed with the lost elven civilization, hoping to rebuild their kingdom some day. (She is the tanned half-elf with light blue hair.)

Lorna (12), is the youngest of the princesses, and very shy. She enjoys sketching, and has the ability to predict the future through her drawings. (She is the blonde one with the sketchbook.)

According to Famitsu's article about the game, your character will be able to face off against hordes of enemies at once in real time. The game also purports to have a high level of freedom, with hundreds of quests to take on at your leisure (presumably to help you pay off your kingdom's debt), as well as the opportunity to build romantic relationships with the various princesses.

It's all a bit confusing at this point, to be sure. But I have to say, I love the concept art they have up on the site. I hope the game's graphics and gameplay can live up to them, as my interest is definitely piqued.

Shining Legend will be available for Nintendo DS sometime this Winter.

As a side note, this appears to be related to Blueside's previously announced Princess and Knight (if not the same game with a different title).

[Shining Legend Official Site]

The Last Story Official Site Opens, Tons of Info Revealed

Nintendo and Mistwalker have ripped down the 'please be patient' curtain off the official website for their upcoming action-RPG collaboration, The Last Story.

The updated website features new screens, game and story details, as well as juicier descriptions for the playable characters revealed so far (Elza, Kanan, Quark, Saylen, and Yuris).

There is a ton of content there for any interested.

My previous Last Story translation apparently rubbed some people the wrong way, so I hesitate to jump right into translating all of it right away. (It is a lot of work, and I'm not interested in just being trolled over it.) Since I am looking forward to the game, however, I would be happy to translate it if there is interest. Otherwise, I have been told that Google can provide you with the exact same translation. (I couldn't confirm this, but the friendly troll was quite adamant.) ;)

Either way, The Last Story is definitely looking cool, and provides a strong argument for me finally picking up a Wii this year.

The Last Story will be available for Nintendo Wii sometime this year in Japan.

[The Last Story Official Site]

Sega Announces Shining Hearts

While Sega's Shining Force RPG series has really changed quite a bit since its original inception, compared to its whored-to-death cousin Phantasy Star, I feel it has still gotten the better end of the stick. And with Sega, that is really all you can ask for.

Cue their latest announced entry into the series, Shining Hearts.

Tony Taka once again is at the helm of the art direction (which, yes, likely means art book and toy spinoffs for the next decade), but the game itself is actually taking cues from turn-based RPGs, rather than the SRPG or action-RPG treatment that we've been used to.

Famitsu has gone all out on the initial details, which you can find translated for your English-reading convenience below.

The Hero and the Three Daughters

The game's protagonist Rick (or 'Rikku' if you like Japanesey spellings) is a young wandering swordsman who, for reasons currently unknown, arrives on Windaria Island, and begins to work at a magical bakery (wow. that's a new one). There are three daughters who work with him at the bakery, and could be called the female protagonists. At the beginning of the game, you will be asked to choose one of the three. (Note: the article doesn't elaborate on this, so I can only guess at what you 'choose' the girl for.) However, based on your actions and choices throughout the game, the girls' feelings might change...?

The three girls are as follows (in order from left to right):

Neris (Hunter)


Amil (Wizard)

The Mysterious Girl Kaguya holds the key to this game's story. She washes ashore one morning after a terrible storm the night before, and is found in a state of memory loss and emotion loss. She is taken to the village clinic, and after devoted care, slowly begins to get some emotion back. From this, her heart's 'Soul Stone' produces a 'Heart Key,' which has the power to unlock the door to a new world...

The Pirate Dilan is the enigmatic leader of the pirate knighthood 'Arc Buccaneers.' It is currently unknown if he is friend or foe...

Windaria Island - The Centre of the Adventure

The game's stage is set on the lush Windaria Island. However, since the appearance of Kaguya, inevitable changes have begun, including the island itself changing shape, and the appearance of pirates after Kaguya's Soul Stone. You will embark on a journey to determine the reason for these changes by exploring various places, including a lava dungeon that appears from a field of flowers. It also appears that you will eventually venture beyond Windaria Island as well...

Communication with the Island's Residents

Various people live throughout the island, including elves and beast tribes. Some people may request you to undertake quests for them, so you are encouraged to talk to many people regularly. Additionally, there are various other ways to spend your time on the island, such as fishing.

Affinity with Your Companions is Essential in the New Battle System!?

In the game, various characters will join you in your quest besides the aforementioned Three Daughters, and you will be allowed to create battle parties of 4 characters. An orthodox command-based battle system allows anyone to enjoy the game's combat. Furthermore, you will be able to execute 'Combination Skills' with your companions, and characters' emotions will change depending on who you use Combination Skills with. More information will be coming regarding the battle system in later articles.

Hm. So far it sounds a little pedestrian to me, but I suppose the opportunity to build relationships with other characters could be fun if implemented well.

Shining Hearts will be available in Japan for PSP sometime this Winter.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Marvelous Announces Yuusha 30 SECOND

In what must be one of the most clever sequel names of all time, Marvelous has announced Yuusha 30 SECOND (Hero 30 Second).

Following on the heels of the indie-game-gone-mainstream, Yuusha 30 SECOND removes the action and shooting scenarios of the original, and replaces them with 5 RPG scenarios.

Yuusha 30 Overture
follows the hero Yusha (har har), a member of the Royal Commando Unit, who is charged by the Queen to suppress the 'Eight Elements.'

Yuusha 30 Judgement follows Yusha as he is hunted by humans and demons who have flooded the world after the Gates of Hell were opened. He also must face off against a rival who has crossed time and space to challenge him.

Yuusha 30 Revolution follows the young Queen Yushia (these Japanese puns just don't let up) as she heads out on a fun adventure with her classmate, despite the fact that her curfew is only 30 seconds away.

Yuusha 30 Ragnarok follows a man named Yuuja in his journey across a destroyed world, and the mysterious robot No. 30. Amidst the melodies of the Singing Princess' song, the gods descend to end it all.

Yuusha 30 Destiny sees Hero Castle (Yuushajou) ascend to the heavens. The thousand year battle between gods, humans, and demons will finally be settled.

In addition to these single player scenarios, there is a multiplayer mode called Shin Yuusha Taisen (True Hero Wars) which pits up to 4 players against each other via adhoc wireless, in new stages with different rules.

Yuusha 30 SECOND will also include an edit mode called Romancing Tsukureru (I think this is a pun on the Japanese name for the mildly famous RPG Maker series), which will allow you to create your own 30 second quests and multiplayer levels.

Finally, there is a mode called Yuusha Mugen (Hero Unlimited) which lets you endlessly face off against the Demon King(s). 30 seconds for each fight, of course.

Yuusha 30 SECOND will be available for PSP on November 4, 2010 in Japan.


Concept Art for Next Tales of is Cool

Famitsu.com has revealed a sizable haul of concept art for Namco Bandai's next big Tales of title.

The art direction is being handled by illustrator Daigo Okumura (who handled the art for Tales of Symphonia 2), and is very different from what we've come to expect from the Tales of series. But according to Producer Hideo Baba, that is exactly what the studio is going for in this new entry.

We still don't know much about the new game, except that it is slated for debut on PlayStation 3 in Japan.

You can check out the full gallery at Famitsu.com.

Looks promising. I'll keep my fingers crossed for an Xbox 360 version.