Monday, July 27, 2009

RPGs of the Week: Here Come the Monsters Edition

Hello and welcome to the last week of July. (Well, August also starts at the end of this week, but who's counting?)

Unless you live in Japan, I'm afraid this week is another slow one for RPG releases, but check out what's coming out anyway (July 27 - August 1, 2009):

North America

Final Fantasy Anniversary Edition (Ultimate Hits) – Square Enix – PSP
Final Fantasy II 20th Anniversary Edition (Ultimate Hits) – Square Enix – PSP
Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System (Ultimate Hits) – Square Enix – PlayStation 2
Final Fantasy Tactics: Shishi Sensou (Ultimate Hits) – Square Enix – PSP
Monster Hunter 3 – Capcom – Nintendo Wii
NUGA-CEL – Idea Factory, Lupinus – PlayStation 2

Puzzle Kingdoms – Infinte Interactive, Zoo – Nintendo DS, PC, Nintendo Wii

Absolute nothing (that I'm aware of, anyway) for North America. (sigh) Summer drought is always so depressing. :(

Japan gets a small fortune of Final Fantasy reprints and a strange cosplay SRPG for the still-not-dead PS2. The big news over there, however, is of course Monster Hunter 3 for the Nintendo Wii, which will most likely sell a bajillion copies. I can hear the cash registers now.

Europe gets Puzzle Kingdoms. Maybe not a show stopper for everyone, but it's better than nothing.

Anything looking worth you monies this week?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dust Off Your Japanese XBL Account, Magna Carta II JP Demo This Weekend

Korean developer Softmax and Namco Bandai publishing label Banpresto are teaming up for the third Magna Carta title, Magna Carta II for the Xbox 360. Though its North American date is still the unhelpfully vague "Fall 2009," the Japanese version is almost upon us.

But wait, you say, Tears of Blood on the PS2 had a confusing/frustrating/difficult battle system, and the original Magna Carta never saw an English release. How will I know if I like this game enough to buy it?

Fear not, indecisive gamer, for Namdai will be releasing a Japanese demo of the game this upcoming Sunday in Japan (July 26, 2009). For most North American gamers, this translates into sometime late afternoon/early evening tomorrow. Bonus!

The demo will reportedly feature an outline of the beginning of the game, a battle tutorial, and will end with the very first boss encounter: the Werewolf.

This demo is only available for Japanese Xbox Live accounts right now, but, y'know, you don't have to actually be Japanese to have a Japanese Xbox Live account, if you catch my drift. ;)

Magna Carta II will be available for Xbox 360 on August 6, 2009 in Japan, and sometime this Fall in North America.

I'm hoping that I have enough time to give the demo a spin sometime this weekend so I can tell you all about it next week. :)

[Magna Carta II Official Japanese Site]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Atlus Announces Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

As many of you already know, Famitsu has indeed cut the waiting game short on Atlus' recent teaser site, revealing Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey for Nintendo DS.

Strange Journey sees a formal return to the main Shin Megami Tensei series, and returns series veteran Kazuma Kaneko to a central role in the game's development.

Strange Journey takes place on Earth around the time when the human population on the planet has exceed 7 billion. A mysterious dark matter appears on the planet's South Pole. A subspace that continues to expand, reducing all it contacts to their basic particles, this phenomenon has been labeled the Schwartzverse by the United Nations.

In hopes of ultimately stopping the expanding Schwartzverse, the UN creates the Schwartzverse Research Squad, which is to obtain as much data on the phenomenon as possible, and ultimately find a way to eliminate it.

SMT: Strange Journey returns the series' 3D dungeons and demon conversation. Series staple demon fusion will also be returning.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey will be available for Nintendo DS on October 8, 2009 in Japan.

This is sort of a bittersweet announcement. On one hand, I'm glad that Atlus has returned to the main series, and the game certainly looks interesting, but on the other hand, I'm disappointed that the game will be another handheld title. 7th gen has brought a lot of disappointment in that regard, and this announcement just proves the console gamers are in for a lot more heartache.

Scans open for translation requests.

Atlus Announces Hexyz Force

The second game coming from the new Sting/Atlus merger is an original IP called Hexys Force. A turn-based anime-style RPG, Hexyz Force doesn't appear break any new ground in the RPG genre, but does look attractive. I'll keep my fingers crossed for at least a good story.

Anyways, the scans are rather difficult to see clearly, so I don't have any real details for the game (besides what I told you above). I like the artist that is in charge of the character designs (you may remember him from recent DS Summon Night games), so I have to say that the game is at least visually appealing.

Hexys Force will be available in Japan on November 12, 2009 on PSP.

Atlus Announces Yggdra Unison: Seiken Buyuuden

I don't know if you heard, but Atlus acquired/merged with obscure developer/publisher Sting earlier this year. And now we get to behold the first fruits of their labours: a new Yggdra Union spinoff! Yay?

Announced via the recent issue of Weekly Famitsu, Yggdra Unison: Seiken Buyuuden (lit. Holy Sword Martial Story) is a 'what if' tale from the original title. The game remains a sort of SRPG, and retains the look of the original GBA game. I wasn't aware that Yggdra Union was the most popular of this series, but it appears that it is.

Anyway, Yggrda Unison SB is set to launch on Nintendo DS sometime this December in Japan.

Any fans of the original stoked about this?

Giant Final Fantasy XIII Scan Update + Mandatory Whiny Kid Character Revealed

I know, for a while there you thought you might be able to escape having a whiny little brat join your team in Square Enix's upcoming Final Fantasy XIII. 'Hey,' you thought to yourself, 'everyone that joins your team looks like they might be able to really add something.' Well, you thought too soon.

As glimpsed at in the most recent trailers, Dengeki PlayStation has confirmed that the little blonde boy is indeed the 5th main party member. Named Hope Estheim, the little brat will play the role of whiny kid that you are supposed to feel bad for after he joins the party. Afterall, his mother is killed when she joins Nora in a battle during the Purge on their Cocoon. (Yes, she is apparently the girl in the hood that volunteers to fight in the trailers. At least, that's what the article says.) Geez, I can already hear the sobbing and pouting now.

Hope apparently uses boomerangs in battle, and hates Snow (the person, not the weather) because of what happened to his mother.

The Dengeki article is extremely lengthy, and covers several story points, battle details, and information on magic. Let me know if you're interested in a translation, and I'll try to squeeze it in.

Final Fantasy XIII will be available sometime this Winter for PlayStation 3 in Japan, and sometime next Spring for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America.

XSEED Bringing Riz-Zoawd to North America with a Name Change

You probably mostly forgot about Wild ARMs developer Media.Vision's DS Wizard of Oz RPG, Riz-Zoawd, but XSEED certainly hasn't. Though they've kept the word on the downlow, it seems they have acquired the publishing rights for the game here in North America, and are planning to release the game sometime this fall.

Riz-Zoawd follows the classic story of Dorothy as she and her dog Toto are mystically whisked away to the magical Land of Oz. Manipulating movement through a touch-screen track ball interface, Riz-Zoawd has tried to combine classic turn-based combat with a new take on the original Wizard of Oz story.

Though the game has yet to be officially confirmed by XSEED, the game has reportedly already received a name change for North America, with XSEED shying away from the presumably difficult to pronouce anagram. Apparently, the NA version will be released as Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, which is, in my opinion, super boring.

Beyond "fall 2009," XSEED has not officially announced the game's release.


NIS America Bringing Atelier Rorona to North America? is just wrapping up their annual Run to the Sun event, where they make rounds to most (if not all) of the North American RPG publishers in California. During their visit to NIS America, they reported that while the company could not confirm an official connection with the title, NISA had an import copy of Atelier Rorona: Arland no Renkinjutsushi to demo.

Atelier Rorona is the first of the Atelier series to make the jump to 7th generation consoles, and the first Gust title to use full 3D graphics. It was released in Japan last month on June 25, 2009.

This is not an official confirmation, but it seems highly suspicious for a publisher to demo a game that they have no connection with. However, given NIS's typical localization speed, I wouldn't hold my breath for a 2009 release if I were you.


Monday, July 20, 2009

RPGs of the Week: Little King's Edition

Welcome to another week of Summer, and the nice lack of new video games to go with it (at least here in the West). Check out what's hitting shelves this week (July 20 - 25, 2009):

North America
Little King's Story - Cing, XSEED - Nintendo Wii

Blazing Souls: Accelate – Idea Factory – PSP
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years: Tsuki no Kikan – Square Enix – WiiWare
Narisokonai Eiyuutan: Taiyou to Tsuki no Monogatari – Irem – PSP


North America's only title is Cing and Marvelous' much-delayed Little King's Story, which (curiously) has been available in Europe for a while now, and is still (mysteriously) not available in Japan.

Japan gets the WiiWare release of the FFIV sequel, a new PSP SRPG from Idea Factory, and an obscure PSP turn-based title from Irem.

Europe, unfortunately, gets nothing.

Picking anything up this week?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Atlus Teases a New Shin Megami Tensei Title?

Teaser sites? Yeah, Atlus likes them as much as any company. They just recently threw a brand new teaser site up for their next game. There's not much there besides the bottom of a planet (presumably Earth?) covered in disappearing squares. Occasionally clues or quotes from the game will flash across the screen in Japanese, like "We are 'Hope'!" (私たちは「希望」だぞ!)

The opening line talking about an unavoidable fate, and the hint about the South Pole (which has a giant hole in it in the picture) are probably the most telling sections of the teaser, and certainly point to a post-apocolyptic title (a favorite subject of Atlus' flagship Shin Megami Tensei series).

Reportedly, some internet matlocks have discovered from the site's source code that the game will be titled Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. Also discovered were some numbers that may suggest a release date: 10.08. These could point to August 8 (a Saturday, so not too likely), October 10 (another Saturday), or August 2010 (pretty far off to be getting a reveal now).

I haven't substantiated any of this myself, so I'm going to leave it all as a RUMOR until the game's official announcement on July 24 (next Friday). Or until Famitsu spoils the fun early, as usual. ;)

Currently no title, platform, genre, or anything else has been officially confirmed. Is there anything you're dying to see from Atlus?

[Atlus New Teaser Site]
[Destructoid (Matlocking)]

Trailer Catch-Up Round 289

There are six new trailers below. You should watch them if you like watching RPG trailers.

Divinity II: Ego Draconis
PC, Xbox 360
Larian Studios, dtp Entertainment
TBA 2009 (North America & Europe)

Magna Carta II
Xbox 360
Softmax, Banpresto (Namco Bandai)
August 6, 2009 (Japan), Fall 2009 (North America)

Ragnarok Online DS
Nintendo DS
Winter 2009 (North America)

Ys 7
September 17, 2009 (Japan)

Dragon Age: Origins gets a Premium Box

BioWare and EA's upcoming "adult-oriented" WRPG, Dragon Age: Origins may be a new property, but EA is convinced it will be a winner. In an effort to make sure fans get something they can proudly display, EA has announced that the game will be getting a limited premium edition alongside the regular package.

The newly announced box will contain the following (in addition to the game and game manual):

-Tin Game Case
- A Bonus DVD Containing Making of Documentary, Soundtrack, Trailers, Wallpaper, Concept Art Video, and Strategies for the Game
-A Cloth Map
-3 Bonus In-Game Extras: Bergens Honor, Grimoire of the Frozen Wastes, and Final Reason
-Additional In-Game Quest: The Stone Prisoner
-Additional In-Game Recruitable Character: Shale
-An Bonus Item for Mass Effect 2*

That's quite a bit of stuff, I must say.

I am personally sort of on the fence with this game. I have no doubt that the story will be compelling, but the "intense gore and sex" attitude with the game's direction sort of puts this out of the realm of my interests. Especially since they seems to be there just to sell more copies. :/

Dragon Age: Origins will be available for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on October 20, 2009 in North America, and on October 23, 2009 in Europe.

*From what I understand, the Mass Effect 2 content will also be available on the PS3 version of the game, but will work for your 360/PC version of ME2. Not exactly sure how that works, but I just report 'em as I hear 'em.


Sega Announces Valkyria Chronicles 2

Valkyria Chronicles on PlayStation 3 might not have had stellar sales, but people who liked it, liked it a lot. I suppose it's one of the first "sleeper" RPGs of this generation (at least one of the first good ones). Fans who like VC will defend its brilliance to the grave, or so I'm told.

So a follow-up title, perhaps hoping to appeal to more gamers, seemed like a definite possibility. And Sega has indeed brought forth a sequel.

...On PSP.

Titled Senjou no Valkyria 2: Gallia Ouritsu Shikan Gakkou (lit. Battlefield Valkyria 2: Gallian Royal Officer School), VC2 takes the alternate WWII setting of the original title, and replaces it with school. Which is way cooler. Obviously.

Following a young cadet named Aban Hardens, VC2 follows this hip youngster as he trains for combat in order to follow in the footsteps of his KIA older brother. Truly a touching tale.

Why I hate Sega, episode 503: Take a game that has real potential, make a derivitive sequel about school kids, move it from consoles to a lame handheld, and expect that everyone will suddenly love you.

Dear Sega. Please die in a fire. Thanks.

Senjou no Valkyria 2: Gallia Ouritsu Shikan Gakkou will be available for PSP sometime this Winter in Japan.

I now will have nothing more to do with this series.

[Senjou no Valkyria 2 Official Site]

Monday, July 13, 2009

RPGs of the Week: Re-re-re-remade Edition

Welcome to another slow summer week. There's honestly not much hitting shelves this week (again), but maybe that's just game publishers telling us that we should go play outside more in the summer. Or something. I don't know. I'm just guessing.

Anyway, here's what's hitting store shelves around the world this week (July 13 - 17, 2009):

North America
WarpForce - Artix - PC

Infinite Undiscovery (Platinum Collection) - tri-Ace, Microsoft, Square Enix - Xbox 360
Tears to Tiara: Kakan no Daichi (AquaPrice) - Aqua Plus - PlayStation 3
Ys I & II Chronicles - Falcom - PSP


WarpForce is a free-to-play MMO from the team behind Adventure Quest (which you may be familiar with if you're into free-to-play MMOs). On a normal week, it probably wouldn't get a mention, simply because I don't really follow MMOs. But in the midst of the summer game drought, I try to take what I'm given.

Japan has things a little better this week with the newest Ys remake, this time for PSP. They also have budget releases for Infinite Undiscovery and Tears to Tiara, in case people were on the fence and needed a price drop to be convinced. ...But let's be honest. Japanese gamers are playing Dragon Quest IX this week.

Europe, unfortunately, doesn't get any RPGs this week.

Anything look worthwhile to you this week?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Act Suprised: Blueside Announces Kingdom Under Fire II for Xbox 360

So, Kingdom Under Fire II is in development. We know this. It is supposedly some kind of MMO-meets-RPG-meets-RTS. We know this too. What we didn't know (until now) was what platform they were developing the game for other than PC. They said "consoles."

Well Korean developer Blueside has come forward this week to officially announce that they game will indeed be for Xbox 360. Considering all of the previous console iterations of this series have been on Xbox, and considering that Microsoft has published their games in at least North America, I don't see how this is actually news. But maybe someone didn't see this coming?

However, the game is apparently still knee-deep in development, and reportedly won't be out until sometime in the last half of 2010.

The concept of the game is interesting, but after Circle of Doom, I'm personally going to reserve judgement until I see it in motion.


Idea Factory Announces Dungeon Maker Girls Type

This headline is a little misleading. Idea Factory actually announced a new game called Date ni Gametsui Wake janee! Dungeon Maker Girls Type. This translates horribly into something along the lines of I'm Not Greedy Just for Show! Dungeon Maker Girls Type. Yeah. Wow.

As you may have inferred from the title, the game is a new Dungeon Maker Game (get quests in the city> make a dungeon > explore it > rinse > repeat) with plenty of conversation events with dreamy boys.

This appeals to some people, apparently.

Oh, and in case you wanted to know, it is being developed by Global A (they made the other Dungeon Maker games too).

I don't know what else to say about this game, so I'll just tell you when it will be released and then never speak of it again. (Probably.)

Date ni Gametsui Wake janee! Dungeon Maker Girls Type will be available for Nintendo DS on October 1, 2009 in Japan.


Nippon Ichi Announces Antiphona no Seika Hime

I know I'm the minority on this one, but I really liked Nippon Ichi when they were making their Marl Kingdom games (the game in this series you would be most familiar with was called Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure in North America). The Disgaea series is okay, I guess. I just thought that the Marl Kingdom series had a charm about it that Disgaea never really matched.

But alas, Disgaea made way more money than Rhapsody, so here we are.

However, it seems like there's someone over at Nippon Ichi that still thinks fondly upon the yesteryear of Marl Kingdom, as the little developer has come forward to announce a spiritual successor to the series in Antiphona no Seika Hime: Tenshi no Gakufu Op.A for PSP. Yuck, that's a long name to spell out. It translates to something like Hymn Princess of Antiphona: Angelica Score Op.A (I don't know what the Op.A part is - maybe there will be an Op.B at some point?)

The game follows a young girl named Miabelle as she embarks on a journey to get her older sister's voice back from the Demon King. Besides the decidedly feminine style of the game, AnSH also reportly features musical cut scenes, very reminiscent of Marl Hime titles.

Antiphona no Seika Hime: Tenshi no Gakufu Op.A will be available for PSP, though no specific date has been announced at this time.

NIS America Announces Atelier Annie, Confirms More

NIS America, the North American arm of Nippon Ichi, has announced this week that they will be bringing Gust's 2nd DS Atelier title, Atelier Annie to North America this October as Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island.

From my personal time with the Japanese version of Atelier Annie, I can definitely say that it's an improvement over Atelier Lise, the studio's first DS title. However, it felt (to me) rather heavy on dialogue and short on meaningful gameplay. For Gust fans, however, this should be nothing but a good announcement.

Additionally, NIS also announced that they will be shortly adding Trophy support to their PS3 SRPG, Disgaea 3. So I guess if you like Trophies, you can, uh, play it again?

They have also confirmed Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love for release this Fall on PlayStation 2, and have announced a limited edition boxset that will include discs for both English and Japanese language tracks.

I guess I just noticed this, but NIS really likes to announce several games at once, don't they?


Atlus Dates Demon's Souls for North America

Sony and FromSoftware's Japanese WRPG, Demon's Souls, has been available for the PlayStation 3 since early this year in Japan, and has even been available in English in other Asian regions. But a version that North Americans can finally call their own will be available this Fall from Atlus.

That's a long time to wait, you say. I mean, wasn't the Asian version in English? Why don't I just import it? you ask. Well, Atlus understands your dilemma, and in order to try and make the decision easier for you has offered to include a bunch of extra stuff with the game.

Demon's Souls deluxe edition will be available on the same day as the regular edition, and will include an art slipcase as well as a strategy guide. Many places are also offering a limited art book for customers who pre-order on top of that.

Demon's Souls will be available for PlayStation 3 on October 6, 2009 in North America. It is already available in Japan and Asia.

I suppose these are nice additions, but I have to wonder why it took so long to localize a game that already had full English included. Was it really that bad?

Monday, July 6, 2009

RPGs of the Week: Japan Loves Dragon Quest Edition

Hello and welcome to a brand new week of RPGs! ...That is, if you live in Japan (or if you have the ability to import and play Japanese games).

It's true. Japan is really the only region getting new RPGs this week. You can check out what they're getting this week (July 6 - 11, 2009) below:

North America

Dragon Quest IX: Hoshizora no Mamoribito - Level 5, Square Enix - Nintendo DS
Sekai wa Atashi de Mawatteru: Hikari to Yami no Princess - Global A - PSP


Japan is getting the enhanced PSP port of My World, My Way, and also supposedly Dragon Quest IX. With millions of years of delays, this is another game that I'll have to actually play before I believe it's real. I'm skeptical like that.

Meanwhile, North America and Europe get a large helping of NOTHING. I guess it still must be summer.

Anyone importing this week?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Weekend Ruined: Two Worlds II Officially Re-Announced

I am so sorry that this had to be right before your weekend, but Topware Interactive has just announced that the sequel to the critically disclaimed RPG Two Worlds hasn't been canceled, and will indeed eventually be a purchasable product.

Originally known as Two Worlds: The Temptation, TWII is being developed by Reality Pump Studios, the Polish studio that created the original title.

The good news (I guess) is that some people are saying that the sequel might be better than the first game. Though to be fair, that really shouldn't be difficult.

The game will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC sometime this Winter, apparently.

Quite why they couldn't have told us this on a Monday when I expect bad things to happen is beyond me.


A Small Pile of Release Dates

Several games received official release dates this week, and instead of giving each one its own post, I thought I'd save myself some time by compiling them all into one. Sweet!

Check out what's getting released when below.

Alpha Protocol
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Obsidian, Sega
October 6, 2009 (North America)

Infinite Space
Nintendo DS
Platinum Games, Sega
Spring 2010 (North America)

Xbox 360, PC
Piranha Bytes, Deep Silver
October 2, 2009 (North America)

Summon Night X: Tears Crown
Nintendo DS
Flight Plan, Namco Bandai
November 5, 2009 (Japan)

Hm, only 4? It seems like there was at least one more somewhere... Oh well.

Any of these titles on your radar? I'm personally waiting for a solid Venetica release date.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Square Enix Announces Final Fantasy Gaiden: Hikari no 4 Senshi

I need some kind of a witty opening line here, but I can't really think of one. What you need to know is that Square Enix is releasing a "new" 3D Final Fantasy game for the Nintendo DS. It's called Final Fantasy Gaiden: Hikari no 4 Senshi (Final Fantasy Side-Story: The 4 Warriors of Light).

Observant readers may have noticed that I used "quotation marks" around the word "new" in the previous paragraph, indicating a sort of sarcastic tone. You may be wondering why. And I would reply that though this appears to be an original title, it is (so far) completely bereft of originality.

A game about 4 young warriors who come together to embark on an adventure due to the Kingdom's princess getting kidnapped by an evil witch! OMG! Call the patent office before someone steals this idea!

Seriously though. Why don't they just come out and say, "We don't actually have anymore game ideas right now, so we're remaking Final Fantasy I. Again. For the upteenth time. On DS."

I guess the good news is that they aren't touching my beloved Final Fantasy VI with their ungodly fugly-DS-remake stick. Yet.

Final Fantasy Gaiden: Hikari no 4 Senshi will be available for Nintendo DS sometime this Autumn in Japan.

Namco Bandai Announces Super Robot Taisen NEO

Y'know, I hear people complain that Namdai releases too many Tales of games. However, when they announce a new Super Robot Taisen game every 3 months, I honestly have to disagree. But I guess if you're a huge public company, you'd want to release money-printing titles 3 times a year too.

Which brings us to Super Robot Taisen NEO, the latest SRT title that will, of course, feature giant robots locked in mortal SRPG turn-based battles. Stop. The. Presses.

Outside of SRTOG for DS, I honestly have a hard time telling SRT games apart. But maybe you can look at the scan below and tell me what, exactly, is different about this title.

Super Robot Taisen NEO will be available for Nintendo Wii sometime this year in Japan.

Marvelous Announces Rune Factory 3

I hope you aren't getting tired of farming, because Marvelous certainly isn't, and to prove it are bringing their farming/action-RPG series Rune Factory back for its 3rd DS installment, conveniently named Rune Factory 3.

RF3 follows Myce (JP="Maisu"), a young man who moves into the town of Cialense where he will no doubt hang out at town festivals, date local girls, unravel a plot to destroy the world, and (of course) tend to a farm. Life can get pretty busy, right?

What sets Myce apart from other farming/RPG heroes (other than his hairband) is the fact that he can change into a strange sheep-looking monster called a Golden Moco-Moco. At last! Just the twist I was hoping for in Rune Factory!

Additionally, the first two marriageable girls have been revealed to be Shia, the pretty default girl, and Tuna, the cold weapons shop elf girl.

Check out the scans below for more farming/saving the world action!

Rune Factory 3 is scheduled to be released for Nintendo DS sometime this year in Japan.

Scans open for translation requests in the comments below.