Thursday, November 27, 2008

NIS Makes Ar Tonelico II Release Date Official

Remember this banner? Well it looks like it was right on the money, and NIS America has come out and made the January 20, 2009 release date for Ar Tonelico II official.

Pre-orders from RosenQueen will net you the game's premium package which comes with a limited print box, an artbook from the character designer, Nagi, and a select soundtrack by Gust's sound team (Ken Nakagawa, Daisuke Achiwa, and Akira Tsuchiya) and Akiko Shikata.

It should also be noted that this puts AT2's release on the same day as the PSP port of Mana Khemia. Good news if you want to buy 2 games at once, but perhaps a head-scratcher if you like to spread out your purchases.

Ah, I wish it was January 20th today. :(

Konami Announces Little Magician's Magic Adventure

In news that might interest you if you are under 10 years old, Konami has recently announced that they will be bringing their recently released in Japan school-simulator/little kid's RPG Tongari-boushi to Mahou no 365-nichi (lit. 356 Days of Pointed Hats and Magic) to North America early next year.

Retitled Little Magician's Magic Adventure, the new title is a little bit easier on our clumsy English speaking tongues than its original name. Also, little kids really aren't going to care that the game's name is not faithful to the original Japanese. They're just going to want to learn magic and help out their friends at school. That's why kids are awesome.

For those eager to learn more about this title, here is the official Japanese website.

LMMA will be available on Nintendo DS in North America on February 10, 2009.

Konami Confirms Suikoden Tierkreis for Q1 North America Release

In a recent press release, Konami has confirmed that the first handheld iteration of their Suikoden series (Gensou Suikouden in Japan), Suikoden Tierkreis, will indeed be making its way to North American DSes early next year.

The game is currently set to release on March 17, 2009. This is extremely close to the game's Japanese release, which is set for December 18, 2008. Kudos to Konami for doing such a good job at getting us their games so quickly after their Japanese release.

Suikoden Tierkreis not only features a new storyline, original characters, and crappier graphics, but also supports DS Wi-Fi play, providing the first game in the series to enable online co-op play.

So, yeah.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Star Ocean 4 Direct Feed TGS Trailer FINALLY Arrives

This trailer has sure taken its sweet time in hitting the internets, but at last we can present to you the Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope trailer in live-feed glory.

Previously shown only to attendees at the Microsoft pre-TGS press conference, this is the full English TGS trailer that gives the game's backstory, introduces the first four playable characters, and shows off a little of the gameplay.

(Also, for those interested, here is a link to the Japanese version of the same trailer on Gamersyde. Both trailers are available on Xbox Live Marketplace if you'd prefer that.)

Enjoy!



Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope will be available on Xbox 360 in Japan on Feburary 19, 2009, and in North America on March 3, 2009. The release date for the European version is still undecided.

Get Equipped with: Summon Night X

The latest issue of Weekly Famitsu has taken a closer look at Flight Plan and Namco Bandai's recently announced Summon Night X: Tears Crown.

The article gives an overview of the Summon Night series up until this point, explaining its SRPG roots, and noting that this latest title will be the 10th game in the series (that includes the spin-off titles, like the recently released Twin Age).

However, probably the most informative section of the article delves into the game's system, showing off what features fans of the series can expect to see returning, and which features are new for this title. Notably, fans should appreciate the conversation system which will be handled in the traditional Japanese talking portraits fashion, but will allow you to build relationships with your party members.

New to this title, as previously mentioned, is the turn-based battle system which makes use of both screens on the DS (nostalgic of Sega and imageepoch's World Destruction), though retains a very visually colorful design, in keeping with the look of previous Summon Night titles.

Finally, as in previous titles, the player will be given the choice of playing through the story as either a male or female protagonist. The male hero is the 17 year old prince of the Deltiana Empire, Dylan, whereas the female lead is the 16 year old princess of the Kingdom of Celestia, Farah.



Summon Night X: Tears Crown will be available in Japan on Nintendo DS on February 12, 2009. No word on a North American or European release.

Dragon Quest IX Scans Show Some Skin

Whoa, that's some great alliteration going on there in the title. That wasn't even on purpose, man!

Anyways, via the latest issue of Jump, Square Enix has shown off a few saucy new characters for the upcoming (in Japan) Dragon Quest IX, along with some details on a few different classes that will be available for your character.

The lovely ladies presented in this scan (Roxanne, Rikka, and Ruida) are important supporting characters. In particular, Ruida (the girl in the red corset) is the owner of a bar, and will be integral in introducing you to other characters who can join up with you. (Roxanne and Rikka's roles are still a little ambiguous).

The classes revealed are (from left to right, top to bottom) mage, fighter, bandit (or theif, whichever you prefer), martial artist, and monk.



Dragon Quest IX: Hoshizora no Mamoribito will be available for Nintendo DS in Japan next March. No word on a North American or European release at this time.

The Last Remnant DLC Announced

It's a DLC Announcement Party on Xbox 360 this week, and it seems like just about everybody's invited.

The latest RPG to hop on board the DLC announcement band wagon is Square Enix's recently released The Last Remnant. However, TLR's DLC isn't so much an expansion as Fallout 3 or Fable II's DLC. But most of it is free.

Shamelessly copy-and-pasted from the press statement:

Challenge Pack 1: “Purgatory’s Sins”
Price: Free
Release date: Gold Member: 1st December, 2008
Silver Member: 8th December, 2008
Level up your game with this pack of ultra-challenging guild tasks. Adequate game progression is necessary.

“The Key of Ancient Ruins”
Price: Free
Release date: Gold Member: 1st December, 2008
Silver Member: 8th December, 2008
Unlock the gates to the Ancient Ruins with this key, and discover what mysteries lie within its crumbling depths.

“March to War Set”
Price: 100 MSP
Release date: Gold Member: 15th December, 2008
Silver Member: 15th December, 2008
Three special unlockable formations (Scatterswarm, Goblet and Catapult) that will boost your tactical strength during battle.

Challenge Pack 2: “The Price of Lies”
Price: Free
Release date: Gold Member: 22nd December, 2008
Silver Member: 29th December, 2008
Add this pack of the most difficult guild tasks yet. Adequate game progression is necessary.

So, yeah. Mostly just challenge packs, etc. But free is free. I won't complain if you won't.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Star Ocean 2 Delayed

If you have been spending the last few weeks lovingly cradling your pre-order for the upcoming PSP port of Star Ocean 2, I'm afraid I may have some slightly disappointing news for you.

Square Enix announced this morning that Star Ocean: Second Evolution has been pushed back to January 20, 2009 - 2 weeks later than its original January 6, 2009 release date.

While this isn't the biggest delay of all time, it may mean some of you will have to pick something else to play at the tail end of Christmas break (assuming it goes that long).

Square Enix has not disclosed the reason for the delay at this time.

Thoughts?

Fable II DLC Detailed

It's a DLC morning, apparently.

Yesterday Lionhead Studios announced the Knothole Island DLC expansion for Fable II.

Knothole Island will contain a new area (surprisingly named Knothole Island) that will contain new locales, enemies, and quests.

Additionally players will receive several exclusive in-game items like the Assassin's Gloves, the Knight's Boots, and the Weight Loss Potion.

I'm still very much enjoying Fable II, so I would be lying if I said that I wasn't a little bit interested in some expansion.

Knothole Island will be available via Xbox Live for 800 points sometime in mid-December.

Fallout 3 DLC Detailed

E3, in internet time, was 500 years ago, so most gamers likely forgot that Microsoft and Bethesda announced way back in July that Fallout 3 would be receiving exclusive DLC on Xbox 360 and PC.

At the time I didn't particularly give a second thought to that. I mean, the game was, at the time, 500 years away. But with the game out and about in both Europe and North America (and soon in Japan), additional content becomes a little bit more relevant.

Bethesda has recently announced what the first of this additional content is:

The Fallout 3 editor, G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit), will be free to download for the PC version next month, and will allow users to generate their own content (as one would expect from an editor).

Additionally, 3 downloadable content packs will be available for Xbox 360 and PC starting early next year. Shamelessly copy and pasted from the official press release:

-Operation Anchorage
Enter a military simulation and fight in one of the greatest battles of the Fallout universe – the liberation of Anchorage, Alaska from its Chinese Communist invaders. An action-packed battle scheduled for release in January.

-The Pitt
Journey to the industrial raider town called The Pitt, located in the remains of Pittsburgh. Choose your side. Scheduled for release in February.

-Broken Steel
Join the ranks of the Brotherhood of Steel and rid the Capital Wasteland of the Enclave remnants once and for all. Continues the adventure past the main quest. Scheduled for release in March.

Pricing for these DLC packs has yet to be set.

I haven't gotten around to Fallout 3 yet, but from what I understand, the main game is already loaded to brim with content. But hey, for those looking to get just that much more gameplay out of their $60, DLC seems like a good way to go.

Monday, November 24, 2008

RPGs of the Week: Timeless Edition

(Obligatory weekend comment)
(Obligatory witty remark)
(Obligatory allusion to some video game)

The following RPGs are shipping to retailers in all three major regions this week (November 24-28, 2008):


North America
Chrono Trigger - Square Enix - Nintendo DS

Japan
Agarest Senki: Reappearance - RED, Idea Factory, Compile Heart - Xbox 360
Eiyuu Densetsu: Sora no Kiseki Set - Falcom - PSP
Lost Regnum: Makutsu no Koutei (The Best) - Tommo, Ertain - PSP
Mimana Iyar Chronicle - GungHo Works - PSP
Rune Factory Frontier - Marvelous - Nintendo Wii

Europe
(none)

Japan has the most rounded lineup this week with the Xbox 360 port of Agarest Senki, the Wii remake (it is a remake, right?) of Rune Factory, the boxset of all three Sora no Kiseki PSP ports, a reprint of Lost Regnum (released as Warriors of the Lost Empire in North America), and the under-hyped Mimana Iyar Chronicle.

North America gets the second official Chrono Trigger port, this time to the little handheld that could. That's it though. If you wanted a different RPG, tough beans.

Our European friends, unfortunately, get nothing this week. Sorry.

Anything looking sweet to you this week?

Devil Survivor Chinese Scans are Unreadable by Me

Last week's issue of Famitsu featured another article on the upcoming Megami Ibunroku: Devil Survivor. The article featured two new characters, as well as a closer look at the game's battle system.

Unfortunately, the only complete scans I've been able to find are in Chinese, which is a language I am ashamedly illiterate in. T_T

The two characters' names are Naoya (the dude on the first page) and Amane Kuzuryuu (the chick with part of her dress draped between her legs). Other than that though, I'm afraid I've got nothing.

Check out the pictures below.



Megami Ibunroku will be available for Nintendo DS on January 15, 2009 in Japan. No word on any other localizations.

Star Ocean 4 Intro Leaked, is Kinda Boring

If you live in Japan and pre-ordered the recently released The Last Remnant on Xbox 360, you would have received a nifty little disc with a bunch of stuff on it. Among that stuff you would have found the opening video to tri-Ace and Square Enix's next upcoming Xbox 360 RPG, Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope.

But what if you don't live in Japan, or didn't get around to pre-ordering? Don't worry. Via the magic of the internet, the video has been leaked for all of your watching enjoyment. Also, it's embedded below:



While interesting, I was a little disappointed with the opening, mostly because it shows scenes we've already seen through the last few trailers. Also, it doesn't feature any of the playable characters. Just backstory.

Nevertheless, the game still looks sweet.

Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope will be available on Xbox 360 in Japan on February 19, 2009, and in North America on March 03, 2009. The European date has yet to be announced.

Final Fantasy XI gets 3 New Expansions Next Year

Here and I thought FFXI was done. Not Square Enix though. Nope. They have three new expansions for the game set to debut next year. I would summarize them for you, but the official press release does such a better job at it, I figured cut and paste would be a prudent decision:

A Crystalline Prophecy – Ode of Life Bestowing™
One day, a giant crystal appeared in the skies above Jeuno, triggering a series of unexplained happenings across the land. Now, adventurers will set forth to unravel the mysteries of this primordial crystal that holds the secret of Vana'diel®'s past.

A Moogle Kupo d'Etat – Evil in Small Doses™
It all started with an innocent drop of rainwater and a rickety, ramshackle Mog House desperately in need of repairs. Little did anyone suspect that this was only the beginning of a harrowing nightmare unheard of in the annals of moogle-kind.

A Shantotto Ascension – The Legend Torn, Her Empire Born™
The eccentric Professor Shantotto returned to Windurst one day after a mysterious, unexplained absence, shocking her colleagues with behavior so outrageous it put her old self to shame! When she goes so far as to proclaim herself ruler of her own empire, adventurers set out to discover the truth behind her alarming shift in personality.


The first of the three expansions, A Crystalline Prophecy, is set to release next spring, with the other expansions to follow in later months.

So, is anyone out there still playing FFXI? Will these expansions get you back into it, or (heaven forbid) get you started in it?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Namco Bandai Announces Summon Night X: Tears Crown

Recently doing away with their Banpresto label, Namco Bandai has announced via the latest Famitsu that they will be publishing Flight Plan's next entry into their long-running Summon Night franchise with Summon Night X: Tears Crown.

Ignoring the Engrish subtitle, SNX appears to be a classic turn-based RPG, a series first as far as I'm aware, with the majority of the SN titles being SRPGs, and a few random action-RPG spin-offs.

Deatils are scarce at the moment, but the game is reportedly scheduled for release on February 12, 2009 on Nintendo DS.


Translation requests will be opened once legible scans can be found.

Here is the Opening Video of Rune Factory Frontier

I... don't know what to say about this intro vid. Seriously. No clue at all.

Just watch it and tell me what you think.



Rune Factory Frontier will be available on Nintendo Wii in Japan on November 27, 2008. The North American release date is still unannounced.

Oh Crap. Demon's Souls Dated for Early 2009

Remember that awful TGS demo of Sony and FromSoftware's PS3 RPG, Demon's Souls? Yeah, the one that everyone thought, "Well, it's probably just an early build." I guess not so much, as Sony has just revealed that the game will be available next February in Japan.

Now, I'm not saying that things couldn't be tightened up with the next 2-3 months, I'm just saying that it's not looking good.

Oh, here are some scans for the game if you'd like. I'm giving up hope on this one until someone can prove my fears wrong.

Demon's Souls will be available on PlayStation 3 in Japan on February 05, 2009.

Dungeons & Dam Trailer Might Kill You

If you have an aversion to extremely Japanesey things, I would recommend you absolutely do not watch the below embedded trailer for Acquire's Dungeons and Dam (Dan - Dam). Seriously, so much high-pitched spunky JPop coupled with obnoxiously cute anime characters doing ridiculous things is a recipe for death for any but the most devoted Japanophile.

You've been warned. If your head implodes while watching this video, it's entirely your own damn fault.



Of course, being a DS trailer, you should all expect not to see a shred of gameplay in this trailer, so in that regard it delivers.

Dan - Dam will be available on Nintendo DS in Japan on Nintendo DS sometime next spring. No word on a North American or European release at the moment.

Tales of Hearts Pushed Back

In news that probably none of you care about, Namco Bandai's upcoming DS RPG, Tales of Hearts, has been pushed back a week in Japan.

Namdai cites a delay in finishing the game as the cause for the delay. Sounds a little hokey considering the game would already be finished with months of beta testing on a mostly finished product. What one extra week would do for that process is a mystery to me.

They probably just had printer problems.

Tales of Hearts will now be available on December 18, 2008, rather than the 11th. In Japan. No word on the fate of the game in North America or Europe.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Square Enix Looking to Open North American Studio

According to an official help wanted ad, Square Enix has begun hiring for their own California-based development studio.

The ad is looking for what they call "master" programmers holding a bachelor's degree, skilled in C and C++, and roughly 5 years of game development experience, with at least one Xbox 360 game under their belts (I'm not sure that counts as "master" programmer, but hey). These programmers are being forecasted to lay the ground work for a team developing an action-oriented Wii and Xbox 360 title.

Aside from the brief experimental Square USA development studio, both Square and Enix (and currently Square Enix) have traditionally developed almost exclusively out of Japan, with their international branches working only on localization.

However, with Wada's recent comments on focusing more on the West, the Earth-shattering Final Fantasy XIII to Xbox 360 announcement, and the recent partnership with Seattle-based Gas Powered Games, Square Enix seems to be taking some cues from companies like Capcom and Konami and turning their attention to Western markets.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I remember reading somewhere that Square Enix opening a North American development studio is a sign of the end of the world, so I'm going to get back to preparing that bomb shelter.

UPDATE: The job posting on Square Enix's website lists only the Xbox 360 under required skills, with no mention of the Wii. Read that however you would like.

Kingdom Hearts DSi Pack for Your HARDCORE GAMING

As you all know, the premier gritty, hardcore RPG series Kingdom Hearts is making its way to the epitome of high-technology gaming, the Nintendo DS next February in Japan. What you may not know is that, in order to remind you that your current DS is now out of date, and the MUCH MUCH better Nintendo DSi is, in fact, way better, Nintendo and Square Enix have teamed up to bring you a Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Nintendo DSi bundle.

This limited and ultra super awesome package will include the game in question plus a Kindom Hearts edition original DSi with an original design, rumored to rival such works as the Colosseum and Michelangelo's David in terms of sheer artistic brilliance.

The bundle will be available in Japan at the same time as the game's release next February. You might want to think about pre-ordering now, just because greatness like this only comes around once in a while.

Here is the announcement via Famitsu.

Some Story Trailers for The Last Remnant

I admittedly haven't covered much on Square Enix's upcoming The Last Remnant. This isn't because I'm not interested in the game - I am - it's just that I've already covered the majority of the story and character content that Famitsu has provided, and haven't really been shown anything new that I thought was pertinent to relate to you.

But one thing that is easy to get interested in is a good trailer. The Last Remnant has some. One short Japanese commercial and one longer English trailer. Give them a watch below.

English Awakening Trailer


Japanese Story CM


The Last Remnant will be available worldwide on Xbox 360 this Thursday. There is currently no official release date for the PlayStation 3 or PC versions.

Devil Survivor Gameplay Video Almost Shows Combat

If you want to see what Atlus' Megami Ibunroku: Devil Survivor plays like right before you fight a battle, then this clip is especially for you.



Featuring some protagonists talking and demons appearing out of thin air, the video in question brings you right up to the critical moment where a battle begins and then! ....totally leaves you hanging. But hey, it shows a turn order appear in the upper section of the screen.

Z0MG! TURN-BASED STRATEGY CONFIRMED!

Megami Ibunroku: Devil Survivor will be available on Nintendo DS in Japan on January 15, 2009. No word on a North American or European release at the moment.

Monday, November 17, 2008

RPGs of the Week: Control the Remnants Edition

I hope you all had relaxing weekends, as this week is a tidal wave of new RPG releases guaranteed to suck away any social life you might have once had.

The following RPGs are shipping to retailers in all three major regions this week (November 17-21, 2008):

North America
EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey - Sony Online Entertainment - PC
Gothic 3: Forsaken Gods - JoWood - PC
The Last Remnant - Square Enix - Xbox 360
The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria - Turbine - PC
Luminous Arc 2 - imageepoch, Atlus - Nintendo DS
Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir - Obsidian, Atari - PC
Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon - Neverland, Natsume - Nintendo DS

Japan
Chrono Trigger - Square Enix - Nintendo DS
Dokapon Kingdom (The Best) - Sting - PlayStation 2
The Last Remnant - Square Enix - Xbox 360

Europe
EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey - Sony Online Entertainment - PC
Gothic 3: Forsaken Gods - JoWood - PC
The Last Remnant - Square Enix - Xbox 360
Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir - Obsidian, Atari - PC
Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia - Hal, Nintendo - Nintendo DS

The biggest title this week is definitely Square Enix's The Last Remnant, debuting on the Xbox 360 across all three regions on the same day (MADNESS!).

PC gamers in North America and Europe have several expansions to choose from for EverQuest II, Gothic 3, and Neverwinter Nights 2.

The DS is back in action this week with Luminous Arc 2 and Rune Factory 2 in North America, more Pokemon for Europe, and the classic Chrono Trigger for Japan.

What's looking sweet to you this week?

Vote for Your Favorite Tales of Character

Namco Bandai's official Tales of channel (in Japan) has just opened voting for its 4th Annual Favorite Tales of Character Vote.

The vote covers all the playable characters of all of the current games (and the upcoming Tales of Hearts), as well as a few important NPCs and mascot characters. Tales of Destiny's Leon Magnus has won two out of the previous three years, with Tales of Symphonia's Kratos Aurion breaking his stride once.

The results will be announced during December's Jump Festa (where Tales of traditionally has a prominant presence).

As a thank you for anyone who votes, the Tales of channel is presenting an exclusive desktop wallpaper featuring the heroes of the major Tales of titles (and some characters from some ToW game that no one ought to care about).

I voted for Tales of Vesperia's Judith. In the end it came down to her and Tales of the Abyss' Tear Grants, but Judith ultimately won me over with how much more I liked playing as her in battle. (It had absolutely nothing to do with her rack, I swear!)

So who did you vote for?

Blood of Bahamut Debut Trailer Debuts

The mysterious Bahamut countdown put up by Square Enix last week was of course revealed to be another DS title, Blood of Bahamut. And though it's nice to see Square Enix branch out and try new ideas that don't have Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest somewhere in the title, the fact that the game is on DS instead of a console again is a little disappointing (if not totally predictable).

Well, Square Enix wants you to know that they don't give a crap that the market is oversaturated with DS RPGs, and to prove it they've released the first trailer for the game along with the official website launch, proving that yes, this game will definitely be on the DS, in all of its ancient graphical glory.

Watch and be ye amazed!



The release date for Blood of Bahamut is current undecided.

NIS Announces Mana Khemia: Student Alliance

As much as I wish this announcement was for Gust's sequel to the original Mana Khemia, Student Alliance is unfortunately just the PSP port of Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revvis.

Though Student Alliance is the exact same game as its PS2 original, the port will feature Wi-Fi support for cooperative play (not too sure how that will work at the moment), plus a little bit more content, including more things to synthesize, and all that.

While I didn't think Mana Khemia was the best Atelier game, it was also not the worst. Those who missed the PS2 version, I would definitely encourage you to pick up the PSP port. The rest of us will just have to keep our fingers crossed that Mana Khemia 2 will be announced for North America sooner than later.

You can check out NIS's official press release here.

Mana Khemia: Student Alliance will be available on PSP in North America in January, 2009. It is already available in Japan.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Blue Dragon Plus Trailer Remains Epic

Ignition has released a second trailer for the upcoming DS RTS-RPG Blue Dragon Plus, and it retains that "edge of your seat" feel that they were going for last time, but actually tosses in some gameplay just for good measure. Make sure you're sitting down for this.



I'm impressed that Ignition is putting so much oomph into promoting Blue Dragon Plus. They are certainly outdoing the nearly non-existant advertising campaign that AQ Interactive backed in Japan.

My biggest problem is that though I like Blue Dragon, I still don't like RTS. Hmm, troubling.

Blue Dragon Plus will be available on Nintendo DS in North America next February. It is already available in Japan.

White Knight Story Trailers Present an Identity Crisis

I have to be honest, I'm worried about Level 5's Shiro Kishi Monogatari. I really liked Level 5's PS2 RPGs, and though Shiro Kishi has abandoned the cell-shaded anime look in favor of something... weirder, I still figured that the gameplay would pull this title through.

But then TGS came along and all these details on MMO-like functionality. Now, even trailers and commercials for the game present it as two different things. On the one hand, a traditional looking linear action-RPG, and on the other, a kind of psuedo MMO.

Below are two trailers. One epic, one... awkward (and super long).

Story Trailer


Online Trailer


Seriously, if I wanted to play an MMO, I'd play an MMO. I really don't need a game that attempts both. Gah! I'm having terrible Phantasy Star Universe flashbacks! x_X

Shiro Kishi Monogatari: Inishie no Kodou will be available on PlayStation 3 in Japan on December 25, 2008. Still no word on a North American or European release.

Kingdom Under Fire II Trailer has Fighting in it

Blueside and Phantagram's official sequel to their Xbox RTS / RPG, Kingdom Under Fire, has received its first official trailer which is reportedly running with on the game's realtime engine. Impressive.


Blueside is touting this new installment's genre as MMOARTS (massive multiplayer online action real-time strategy), whatever that means.

No platform or release date has been confirmed at this point, but since Microsoft has published all of the Kingdom Under Fire games that I'm aware of, I would be pretty surprised to see this anywhere besides Xbox 360.

Atlus Announces My World, My Way

The year is nearing (read "speeding towards" in internet time) its end with most publishers and developers sitting back to let the holiday spend itself out before announcing next year's games. But not Atlus. No no, they want you to know that they have plenty more games where 2008 came from.

The latest entry is My World, My Way for Nintendo DS. Developed by Global A (the studio behind Master of Monster Lair), My World, My Way revolves around Elise, a spoiled princess who sets out to save the world on her own schedule.

Reportedly playing on many tried-and-true JRPG cliches, Elise's adventure allows her to change the world around her at will, and gives the JRPG genre a different spin. The game appears to be full of biting sarcasm and inside jokes that only the hardcore RPG fan would appreciate.

To quote (as sent by Atlus) from the game:

"Attention, please! I am sick of RPGs with gender-confused boy heroes with their spikey hair and ginormous swords living out an absurd ultimate fantasy. Is having your village burn down all you really need to be a champion? And a scar on your face is supposed to make you... What, dark and brooding? Try uncoordinated."

Any game that can cosciously make fun of its own genre is well worth a look in my books.

My World, My Way will be available on Nintendo DS in North America on February 03, 2009. It was released in Japan as Sekai wa Atashi de Mawatteru (The World Revolves Around Me) in June, 2008.

Square Enix Announces Blood of Bahamut

These damn flash countdown timers. They're never worth the emotional investment. Even though the bahamut.jp site is still counting down to sometime next week, Jump has gone and spoiled the party with the scoop on the mysterious game, which is indeed the rumored Blood of Bahamut.

The article gives us very little information, but it has been revealed that the DS title is not a remake of Bahamut Lagoon (though it may be connected somehow), and will put a gameplay emphasis on wireless multiplayer.

Blood of Bahamut's protagonist is a young man named Ibuki, and with his childhood friend (and, of course, inevitable love interst) Yui, stand to defend their hometown which lies on the back of an enormous sleeping monster called a Gigant when it awakens for some reason.

Currently, Blood of Bahamut has no confirmed release date.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SURPRISING: Idolmaster Character Cameo in Tales of Hearts

Okay, so remember how there are cameo characters in Tales of Hearts? And remember how Namdai said there would be some "surprising" cameos? Well, here's the first: Yayoi Takatsuki from the big-in-Japan idol simulation games The Idolmaster.

Yayoi is the second youngest idol in the series (13 years old) and describes herself as "200% Genki." Scary.

Summoning her in battle apparently unleashes her giant slap attack, or something along those lines. Again, scary stuff.

But I have to take back what I said. I am genuinely surprised that a character from such a non-related IP is making a debut. Perhaps next we'll get the Prince or something?

Tales of Hearts will be available on Nintendo DS in Japan on December 11, 2008.

Any requests for a Namdai cameo character?

Square Enix Counts Down to Bahamut?

Mysteriously, Square Enix Japan has recently put up a teaser site called bahamut.jp, featuring nothing more than a large painting of a blue dragon and a walking city colossus, and timer counting down to early next week.

The site icon is, interestly enough, a 16-bit sprite very reminiscent of the main character of the SNES Japan-only RPG Bahamut Lagoon.

Could this be the recently trademarked Blood of Bahamut? From that icon, it sure seems like it's going to be another SNES RPG ported to the DS, doesn't it?

Speculate away!

EA Announces Tubo

Electronic Arts, always the ones to push the video game industry forward, have announced a new DS game that combines the complexities of RPGs, the simple joy of rhythm games, and the irresistibility of mascot characters to form Tubo!

Finally! By matching the beat with your stylus, enemies will fall before your awesome dancing might, leading you to quite possibly save the world from the forces of evil!

Tubo will be available on Nintendo DS in Japan on January 22, 2009. Unfortunately there is no word on a North American or European release. Let us all pray that the great benevolence of EA smiles upon us and it sees light on our shores.

Valkyria Chronicles gets an Anime

Following in the footsteps of Blue Dragon, Persona 3, and half of the Tales of games, Sega's PlayStation 3 shooter-SRPG Valkyria Chronicles (Senjou no Valkyria: Gallian Chronicles in Japan) is getting an anime adaptation in Japan.

Set to begin broadcast next Spring, the anime will be handled by A-1 pictures (the studio behind Kannagi, Kuroshitsuji, and Persona: Trinity Soul).

It is currently unknown which network will be broadcasting it.

Mario & Luigi 3 Dated for Japan

The 3rd Mario & Luigi handheld RPG, currently conveniently named Mario & Luigi RPG 3, has been dated for a Q1 release in Japan, reportedly hitting shelves on February 11, 2009.

There is currently no word on a North American or European release.

This is the third paragraph so it looks like I have something else to say about this. Deceiving!

Square Enix Confirms 2 DS RPGs for North America

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, Square Enix has confirmed that both Dragon Quest V: Tenkuu no Hanayome and Valkyrie Profile: Toga wo Seou Mono will be making the jump to North American DSes early next year.

This brings Square Enix's confirmed 2009 lineup to 4 titles (including Star Ocean: Second Evolution for PSP and Star Ocean: The Last Hope for Xbox 360), all of which drop within the first quarter of the year. A good start.

Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride will be available on February 17, 2009, while Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume will be available on March 17, 2009.

Act surprised.

No Nuke in Fallout 3 for Japan

If you live in Japan you might want to know that Bethesda's Fallout 3 is receiving some rather significant omissions for the region. According to Bethesda, the following will be edited:

-Classification of certain groups of people (notably humans and ghouls) have been removed, though most of the nomenclature remains.

-The quest "The Power of Atom" has been edited so that the player will no longer be able to detonate the nuclear bomb.

-The name of a certain weapon has been changed due to CERO's stance on a "prohibited phrase" (people seem to believe the affected weapon is the Fat Man).

Though most internet-savvy Japanese gamers seem disappointed by these changes, the average customer is unlikely to notice the difference. At least the changes in that region haven't affected other regions (like a certain Australian incident that readily comes to mind).

Fallout 3 will be available in Japan on Xbox 360 on December 04, 2008, and on PlayStation 3 on January 15, 2009. It is already available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in North America and Europe.

What are your thoughts on censoring this kind of material?

Monday, November 10, 2008

RPGs of the Week: Poisonous Symphony Edition

Hope you all had good weekends.

So there weren't a ton of options if you wanted a new RPG last week. This week, however, there's a bit to choose from.

The following are shipping to retailers in the 3 major regions this week (November 10 - 14, 2008):

North America
Eternal Poison - Flight Plan, Atlus - PlayStation 2
Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia - Hal, Nintendo - Nintendo DS
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel - Ascaron, Atari - PC
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World - Namco Bandai - Nintendo Wii
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Blizzard - PC

Japan
Elminage DS Remix: Yami no Fuo to Kamigami no Yubiwa - Starfish SD - Nintendo DS
Fushigi na Dungeon: Fuurai no Shiren DS 2: Sabaku no Majou - Chunsoft, Sega - Nintendo DS
Tongari Boushi no Mahou no 365-nichi - Konami - Nintendo DS

Europe
Dungeon Maker - Global A, Rising Star - Nintendo DS
The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria Complete - Turbine, Codemasters - PC
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Blizzard - PC

North America gets the Wii sequel to Tales of Symphonia, Flight Plan's gothic SRPG, Eternal Poison, some more Pokemon, a PC dungeon crawler, and a WoW expansion.

Japan is exclusively obscure DS titles, including the second Shiren the Wanderer DS entry.

Europe gets Master of the Monster Lair under a different title and two MMO expansions.

What's looking sweet to you this week?

Here are Some Oboro Muramasa Scans

Perhaps the most compelling reason to own a Wii, Marvelous and Vanillaware's upcoming hand-drawn action-RPG Oboro Muramasa is simply gorgeous.

I don't know what to say other than that, so instead, look at these scans!



Scans are open for translation requests below.

Oboro Muramasa (Muramasa: The Demon Blade in North America) will be available in Japan and North America on Nintendo Wii sometime next year. No word on a European release at the moment.

Riz-Zoawd Scans Show Dorothy, Some Old People

Set for the unusual release date of January 01, 2009, D3 and Media.Vision's upcoming DS RPG based on the Wizard of Oz, Riz-Zoawd, is intriguing.

I'm not sure if I should be excited for this game or not, as on one hand I really liked the Wizard of Oz when I was younger, I'm digging on this game's art style, and like the majority of Media.Vision's games, but on the other hand, the battles look ridiculously generic and I'm always wary of DS games.

Famitsu has recently written an article on the game (scans below) that covers various points of the game's system, as well as some weird old people. Take a look. (Thanks to RPGLand for the scans.)



Scans are open for translation requests below.

Riz-Zoawd will be available on Nintendo DS in Japan on January 01, 2009, with no word on a North American or European release.

Chrono Trigger gets a New Ending

One of the coolest things about the original Chrono Trigger was its multiple endings. Back in a time when JRPGs were very rare in North America (it was a big deal if 2 came out in one year), this added a HUGE amount of replayability to this game. I literally unlocked every single ending on the SNES version, and didn't even expect to get an Achievement for doing so. Truly simpler times.

Anyhow, Square Enix has announced via Famitsu that the DS port of the classic game will include an additional ending, though they are tight-lipped on exactly what that ending could be, providing only two screens (below) that supposedly have something to do with it.

Just based on my own extensive knowledge of the original Chrono Trigger, these screens appear to be related to the Lavos battle in the Ocean Palace during the Kingdom of Zeal part of the game. For those who worked their asses off to beat Lavos at that point (it is the hardest possible way to fight Lavos), you'll remember that for doing so originally only nabs you the incredibly disappointing developer's ending, which can be unlocked in multiple other ways.

Consider me intrigued.

Chrono Trigger will be available on Nintendo DS on November 20, 2008 in Japan, November 25, 2008 in North America, and sometime in 2009 in Europe.

Tales of Symphonia 2 Opening

In case you forgot, Tales of Symponia: Dawn of the New World (the direct sequel to the original Tales of Symphonia) hits shelves for the Nintendo Wii this week. This iteration of the Tales of series is quite a bit less well-publicized than the recent Tales of Vesperia, but I suppose that's to be expected considering its status as a sub-series installment.

Either way, below is the game's opening sequence courtesy of GameTrailers.



Unfortunately, it seems that Namdai is back to its "rip out the game's theme song in North America" policy. Tales of Vesperia had filled me with so much hope. :(

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World will be available on Nintendo Wii here in North America tomorrow. It is already available as Tales of Symphonia: Ratatosk no Kishi in Japan.

Not News: 3 RPG CMs

I know, you love to start your week off with a little bit of Japanese TV. But not too much. Maybe just a few seconds, y'know, to get things flowing. Don't worry, we've got you covered with 3 different Japanese RPG commercials, each a quick 15 seconds long.

What's that, you say? You're a hopeless fanboy and you won't even watch commercials for games on other consoles? No need to worry, as there is a commercial for each of the current consoles. Just skip those other commercials for those consoles that you hate, and pretend that we're catering only to you!

The Last Remnant (Xbox 360)


Rune Factory Frontier (Nintendo Wii)


Shiro Kishi Monogatari (PlayStation 3)


Sure, none of these commercials are particularly newsworthy, but that's why we're a blog! ;)

Friday, November 7, 2008

D3 Announces Tactislayer

The video game industry is always looking to expand, to broaden its horizons, to push the creative envelope. Well D3 Publisher of Japan and Ninja Studio (makers of the Izuna series, among other games) have teamed up to create Tacticslayer: Litinagard Senki (Record of the Litinagard War).

Tacticslayer finally merges the worlds of cosplay and SPRGing together into one convenient package, urging players to "Dress up girls and fight," a catch phrase so inspiring, so epic, that it is a incredible that it hasn't been coined sooner.

Described by the developers as a "Cosplay Battle Tactics Simulator," Tacticslayer follows the exploits of several high school girls as they battle to save the mysterious world of Litinagard. Also, they can wear a lot of different clothes.

For those interested in knowing more, here is the debut article on Famitsu, as well as D3's official page for the game.

Tactislayer: Litinagard Senki will be available on Nintendo DS in Japan sometime this winter. If it ever gets localized in North America, I promise to pre-order 2 copies out of complete disbelief.

Correction: Nostalgia is Nostalgeo

By way of correction, I have apparently been caught up in a rush of mass hysteria, failing to read the actual Japanese title of Tecmo and Matrix's recently released DS RPG, Nostalgeo no Kaze, selfishly subsitituing an "a" where there is actually an "o."

Hence, Tecmo's official name of the game in question is Nostalgeo no Kaze, meaning Wind of Nostalgeo, rather than Nostalgia.

Apologies.

No Persona 4: FES Forthcoming. Ever.

In case you were a little worried that Atlus might up and surprise you with an improved version of Persona 4 like they did with Persona 3, Atlus themselves came forward today to let you know that they would never dream of such a thing. Says Tim Pivnicny, Atlus Vice President of Sales and Marketing:

"We are today able to announce that at no point in the future will we announce the release of a "FES" version of Persona 4 ...the very finest, most definitive version of Persona 4 will be the one released on December 9, 2008.

So there you go. Buy P4 with confidence. There is no more P4 after this.

My wallet is happy. ^_^ b

Persona 4 will be available on PlayStation 2 in North America on December 09, 2008. It is already available in Japan.

Scan Catch-Up Deluge

Is it just me, or has this week felt pretty slow in terms of news? I guess there were a couple of games announced (probably most the notable being Devil Survivor), but things have just felt a little slower than normal. Maybe that's a good thing...

Anyways, below are a whole pile of RPG scans from the latest issues of Famitsu and Jump. They all surfaced today (as far as I know), so I'll just throw them all together here for your browsing interest.

Annie no Atelier: Serashima no Renkinjutsushi (Atelier Annie: Alchemist of Sera Island)
Nintendo DS
Gust
January 29, 2009 (Japan)



Chrono Trigger

Nintendo DS
Square Enix
November 20, 2008 (Japan), November 25, 2008 (North America)



Destiny Links
Nintendo DS
Namco Bandai
February 05, 2009 (Japan)



Dragon Quest IX: Hoshizora no Mamoribito (Guardians of the Starry Sky)
Nintendo DS
Level 5, Square Enix
March 2009 (Japan)



Gensou Suikouden Tierkreis (Suikoden Tierkreis)
Nintendo DS
Konami
December 18, 2008 (Japan)



The Last Remnant
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Square Enix
November 20, 2008 (Xbox 360, Worldwide), TBA (PlayStation 3, PC)




Ougon no Kizuna (Golden Bonds)
Nintendo Wii
Jaleco
Winter 2008/2009



Phantasy Star Zero
Nintendo DS
Sega
December 25, 2008 (Japan)



Rune Factory Frontier
Nintendo Wii
Marvelous
November 27, 2008



Lots of stuff here. I'll take translation requests in the comments.

Thanks to Gamekyo and RPGLand for the scans.