Friday, September 25, 2009

TGS 2009: Hack-n-Slash RPGs Dominate TGS

Well, maybe "dominate" is a strong word. But given the limited number of JRPGs present at this year's event (especially on HD consoles), 4 separate hack-n-slash RPGs at one conference is enough to feel like a significant portion.

Hack-n-Slash RPGs are sort of a mixed bag. On one hand, mindless slaughter of even more mindless enemies definitely has its perks, but on the other, hack-n-slash RPGs tend to be light on interesting subject matter and heavy on pressing X repeatedly. A tight-rope walk, to be sure.

Anyways, this year's show has hands-on demos and new trailers for Square Enix and Cavia's NieR (both Gestalt and Replicant), Microsoft, feelplus, and Konami's Ninety-Nine Nights II, and Koei Tecmo's Trinity: Zill O'll Zero (known as Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll in North America). Let's take a look!

NieR Gestalt / NieR Replicant
Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3
Cavia, Square Enix

NieR is an interesting position of being both a multiplatform and an exclusive title all at once. Originally announced as multiplatform, Square Enix recently revealed that the game would be altered and released separately on Microsoft and Sony's platforms.

The original concept of a middle-aged father searching for the cure to a deadly disease for his daughter will be called Nier Gestalt, and reportedly be exclusive to Xbox 360 sometime next year.

Conversely, NieR Replicant will follow the same basic storyline, but has Nier (the main character) as a young man searching for the cure for his sister (who appears to be the same girl as in Gestalt), and will be exclusive to PlayStation 3 sometime next year.

Quite why Cavia or Square Enix (whoever made the decision) felt the need to alter only the main character's age and relationship to the girl needing saving, then release them "exclusively" on 360 and PS3 is beyond me.

Anyway, Cavia is a developer with a shaky history. I disliked Drakengard, but really enjoyed Drakengard 2. Also, I liked the concept of Bullet Witch, but thought the execution needed some polish. Altogether, this is a hard game to judge for me right now. It could be great, mediocre, or crappy, and I have no way of telling right now.

Ninety-Nine Nights II
Xbox 360
feelplus, Microsoft, Konami

The follow-up to one of Microsoft's first attempts to appeal to the Japanese market, N3II is clearly going for a darker, more mature feel than its predecessor, and seems to be going for a more coherent story as well (though that's only a guess from watching the trailers).

Employing the development talents of Lost Odyssey's feelplus, and with the publishing cooperation of Konami, N3II touts bloodier combat, darker heroes, simultaneous co-op play, and more varied gameplay. Check it out below.

I personally enjoyed the original N3, despite its glaring flaws. I'm not sure if I like the change in style for this one, but I am interested to see if they manage to improve on the things that I disliked about the original.

Also, I have no idea why Konami is publishing this instead of Microsoft.

Trinity: Zill O'll Zero
PlayStation 3
Omega-Force, Koei Tecmo

Zill O'll is an obscure RPG series that has never seen the light of day outside of Japan. With 3 previous iterations, Trinity breaks away from the series' previous traditions and goes for a hack-n-slash fest on the PS3 that has been confirmed for North American release someday.

Giving you control over 3 unique characters (a swordsman, a barbarian, and an elf girl), Trinity looks otherwise fairly generic, especially considering its obscure roots. Nevertheless, hack-n-slash fans will likely enjoy the hordes of monsters waiting to die by their hands.

So, a lot of hack-n-slash, right? Hack-n-slash RPGs tend to be pretty polarizing. Either you really enjoy them, or you swear you will never touch them. I always end up buying them if I own the system they're on, but Drakengard 2 is the only one I can ever remember seeing through to the end. (Though I did come close to finishing N3.)

Any of these catching your eye?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TGS 2009: Watch the Okamiden Trailer and Suffocate in its Adorableness

So this crazy thing happened while I was busy with getting married. Capcom announced an Okami sequel! (Well, okay so it's a prequel, but same diff.)

Though Clover will obviously not be working on it, and though it will be on DS instead of a home console, the very fact that Capcom has decided to continue the franchise is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

But anyway, that's old news. So here's the new news. Okamiden: Chiisaki Taiyou (Tiny Sun) has a new trailer for your visual consumption. I present it to you via the magic of the internet!

Okamiden will be available for Nintendo DS sometime next year in Japan.

TGS 2009: Sony Officially Announces Shiro Kishi Monogatari Sequel

Dark Cloud? Nah. Rogue Galaxy. Psh. Sony's new favourite proprietary JRPG is Shiro Kishi Monogatari (White Knight Chronicles). How do we know that? Because Sony just went on record to officially announce the game's sequel, before the first one hits international shores.

Titled Shiro Kishi Monogatari: Hikari to Yami no Kakusei (White Knight Chronicles: Awakening of Light and Darkness), the sequel will also be developed by Level 5, but no further details on the title have been revealed yet.

Since I haven't played the first one yet, I have a hard time getting excited for a sequel, but I think that Sony is trying to keep their positive momentum they have going right now. Can't really blame them for that.

More details on Shiro Kishi Monogatari 2 as they are revealed.


TGS 2009: New Trailer and Release Date for Crystal Bearers

If Final Fantasy XIII is looking to fill your need for a moody techno-punk melodrama, then Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers is hoping to satisfy the younger, more energetic side of you that just wants to mess around and have some fun.

Despite its horrendous title (3 titles in one!), Crystal Bearers is looking more and more like a breath of fresh air for the FF series. It promises humour, a stuck up hero, motion controls, and girls in bikinis (no lie). Check out the trailer below and see if Crystal Bearers is your jive or not.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers will be available for Nintendo Wii on November 12, 2009 in Japan (2 full weeks earlier than originally announced), and on December 26, 2009 in North America (that's Boxing Day up here in Canada ;P).

TGS 2009: Final Fantasy XIV Trailer to Fill Your MMO Needs

Sometimes you want to play video games with other people. That's cool. I can understand that.

Sometimes, however, you want to play video games with other people that you don't know and can't see. This is a concept I have a harder time understanding, but with something like half the world's population playing World of Warcraft, odds are good that you do.

And Square Enix would like a(nother) piece of that pie, thank you.

So watch the trailer for their newest MMO entry, Final Fantasy XIV, and get excited to hang out with people you don't actually know!

Final Fantasy XIV will be available for PC and PlayStation 3 sometime next year.

TGS 2009: Sony Announces FFXIII-Themed PS3

As I'm sure you're aware, Square Enix's hyped-to-the-point-of-redundancy Final Fantasy XIII will be coming to both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America and Europe. But it currently remains a PS3 exclusive in its home country of Japan.

As you are also aware, Sony loves them some Final Fantasy. The love it more than their own IPs. So, in a move that should surprise roughly no one, Sony took some time during their presser last night to announce a limited Final Fantasy XIII-themed PlayStation 3. Astounding!

The cleverly named PlayStation 3 Final Fantasy XIII Lightning Edition will be a white coloured PS3 slim with a light pink drawing of FFXIII's heroine, Lightning on the top. The system will contain a 250GB HDD and come bundled with a copy of the game.

The new bundle will be available on the same day as the game launches in Japan on December 17, 2009, and will retail for ¥41,600 (roughly $420 USD). A little pricy if you ask me, but I doubt that will stop any hardcore Final Fantasy enthusiasts.


TGS 2009: End of Eternity gets a New Trailer, Still No Release Date

tri-Ace have been keeping themselves busy since 7th gen started, and are getting ready to unload their 3rd HD RPG, End of Eternity.

For the forgetful, EoE follows the exploits of three mercenaries, Zephyr, Reanbell, and Vashyron, within the last surviving human city on (actually 'above') Earth: Basel. Though we still don't know much about everything going on behind the scenes, a young woman know only as Subject #20 appears to have a significant role in the fate of what is left of the world.

EoE is currently playable on the show floor of TGS, and Sega has also given us a new trailer for the game, which you can conveniently watch below. Enjoy!

End of Eternity is still without a solid release date, with Sega mentioning a Japanese release of 'This Winter' and and North American release of 'Next Spring.' It will be available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

RPGs of the Week: In Time for TGS Edition

Hello hello!

I'm finally back from getting married (that sounds a little weird, I'm still married, just not getting married any more). I have discovered that nobody tells you how much work is involved in getting married. It's like it's a huge deal or something. Geez.

Anyways, apart from a post-marriage cold, it looks like I'm back to the old routine (along with several personal changes). What that means for this blog, however, is a return to more regular updates (hopefully)! (hopeful) Huzzah!

And just in time for that ever-elusive Tokyo Game Show! Bonus!

Anyhow, check out what RPGs are coming out this week (September 21 - 25, 2009) around the world:

North America
Aion: Tower of Eternity – NCSoft – PC
Battle of the Millennium: Episode 1 – Aldorlea – PC
Dungeon Fighter Online – Neople, Nexon – PC
Fallen Earth – Fallen Earth, Icarus – PC
GhostX – JCE – PC
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona – Atlus – PSP

Dungeon Explorer: Meiyaku no Tobira (The Best) – Hudson – PSP

Aion: Tower of Eternity – NCSoft – PC
Cross Edge – Compile Heart, Koei – PlayStation 3
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 – Vicarious Visions, Activision – Nintendo DS
Steal Princess – Climax, Rising Star – Nintendo DS
Two Worlds II: The Temptation – Reality Pump, SouthPeak – PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Simple browsing of the above titles will reveal that this week is heavily MMO-oriented, with online games far outweighing the traditional offerings.

Notable non-MMO entries into this week's lineup include the PSP remake of the original Persona, the first installation of an indie episodic title called Battle of the Millennium, and (supposedly) the European release of Two Worlds II (which is highly suspect of being not at all true).

Also notable is the obvious lack of Japanese releases this week. And it's not just in RPGs, either. In fact, almost nothing new is hitting Japanese shelves this week, presumably due to TGS opening on Thursday (Wednesday night in North America time).

Anything looking worth it to you this week?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

RPGs of the Week: Demonic Blade Edition

Well, the summer is now officially over. Welcome to September. School starts for many, and for everyone else, work continues as usual. What September also brings, though, is new life into weekly new releases of video games! Huzzah!

Check out what's hitting shelves during the this, the first week of September (August 31 - September 5, 2009):

North America
Muramasa: The Demon Blade - Vanillaware, Ignition - Nintendo Wii

Ousama Monogatari - Cing, Marvelous - Nintendo Wii
Trusty Bell: Chopin no Yume Reprise (The Best) - Tri-Crescendo, Namco Bandai - PlayStation 3


Ah, finally! Vanillaware's latest hand-drawn action-RPG hits North American Wiis this week! What more can I say, except do yourself a favour and give it a spin. Your eyes will thank you.

Japan gets Little King's Story (finally), and a budget reprint of the PS3 port of Eternal Sonata.

Europe, unfortunately, is left out this week.

What's looking sweet to you this week? (I'll give you a hint: it starts with "Muramasa") ;)