Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Idea Factory Announces Jikan de Fantasia

Following the success of the indie game gone PSP, Yuusha 30 (known as Half-Minute Hero in the West), Idea Factory has announced their own time-attack portable RPG, known as Jikan de Fantasia (Fantasia in Time).

Though the scan is too blurry to read well, the game appears to sport pixelized sprite-based graphics, and has players working against the clock to finish their epic quest, which Idea Factory is positioning as an RPG for your commute (again, the comparisons to Yuusha 30 should be obvious).

Further details will have to wait until a legible scan surfaces, but this should come as welcome news to those who wanted more games like Yuusha 30. And, frankly, I always like to see experimental RPGs on handhelds, as I think that is really where they are experienced best.

[All Games Beta]

Nintendo-Flavoured Scan Dump

It's been a while, but here is a lovely little scan dump from the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu, featuring three upcoming RPGs for Nintendo systems, including a first look at screens from Mistwalker's latest, The Last Story.

The Last Story
Nintendo Wii
Mistwalker, Nintendo
2010 (Japan)

Nintendo DS
Level 5, Studio Ghibli
Autumn 2010 (Japan)

Nintendo Wii
Monolith, Nintendo
June 10, 2010 (Japan)

Yeah, looks like its almost time to invest in a Japanese Wii.

[All Games Beta]

RPGs of the Week: NIER the End Edition

Welcome to the last week of April! Since I think May is better than April, I am glad to see it go.

My personal opinions aside, however, there are still some new RPGs hitting shelves this week (April 26 - 30, 2010), just in case you have some cash burning a hole through your pocket.

North America
NIER – Cavia, Square Enix – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Record of Agarest War – Compile Heart, Aksys – Xbox 360, PSN

Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 – TOSE, Square Enix – Nintendo DS
Yuusha 30 (The Best) – Opus, Marvelous – PSP

SpellForce 2: Faith in Destiny – JoWooD – PC

Cavia's NIER makes it to North America this week, along with the under the radar Record of Agarest War.

Japan gets a budget reprint of the charming Yuusha 30, along with another Dragon Quest spinoff thing for the DS.

Europe grabs a new WRPG, SpellForce 2, for the PC this week.

Anything worth picking up for you before May hits?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

RPGs of the Week: Monstrous Edition

I'm home sick today, but that doesn't stop RPGs from hitting the marketplaces of the world. So here they are for this week (April 19 - 24, 2010):

North America

Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley - Marvelous, Natsume - PSP
Monster Hunter 3 - Capcom - Nintendo Wii

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Game of the Year Edition) - Bethesda - Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
NieR Gestalt - Cavia, Square Enix - Xbox 360
NieR Replicant - Cavia, Square Enix - PlayStation 3
Nights in the Nightmare - Sting, Atlus - PSP
Ys: Felghana no Chikai - Falcom - PSP

Monster Hunter 3 - Capcom - Nintendo Wii
NIER - Cavia, Square Enix - Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

The talk of the RPG community is no doubt Capcom's Monster Hunter 3 (still curiously pronounced 'Tri') for Nintendo's white waggle box in both North America and Europe this week.

Japan meanwhile gets both the Gestalt and Replicant versions of NieR for Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively, as well as PSP ports for Nights in the Nightmare and Ys: Felghana no Chikai. Oh, and the ten million years late GotY edition of Oblivion. Woo.

Europe speeds ahead to grab NIER (the Gestalt version only) for 360 and PS3 before NA, while North Americans on the go can get into some more farming with the latest Harvest Moon for PSP.

Anything looking worth it to you this week?

Monday, April 12, 2010

RPGs of the Week: NOTHING Edition

With a strong start to 2010, I had hoped this year would be the first year in memory in which at least one RPG hit retail every week. And for the traditionally slow first quarter, that hope remained bright.

It is, then, with a heavy heart that this week - April 12 - 17, 2010 - no RPGs will be released anywhere.

Oh well. Maybe 2011 will pull it off.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Take Your First Look at The Last Story's Main Characters

Nintendo and Mistwalker have been keeping info on their upcoming joint Wii RPG, The Last Story, to a small but steady drip. From the island the game takes place on to how the soldiers dress, every week another drop is delivered.

This week we are finally given a decent look at the hero and heroine of Sakaguchi's latest. Though we still have no names or colours with which to identify them, we are told that the two are separated by a wall. Not necessarily a physical wall, but something that keeps the two apart in someway due to their individual roles and positions in society.

We are told that though the game focuses on the hero's Story, each person he comes in contact with necessarily has his or her own Story with which the hero may be able to touch.

I fell in love with RPGs due to their storytelling, and while a good battle system and nice graphics always enhance any experience, this sort of commitment to storytelling is why I love Sakaguchi's work so much. The Last Story definitely has my attention.

Though that hero guy could use a shirt.

[The Last Story Official Site]

Xenoblade gets a Release Date

Nintendo is apparently trying to mend their ways by bringing hardcore games (especially JRPGs) to their little white waggle box this year. And if they really can manage to bring a Tales of main series title, a Mistwalker RPG, a new proper Legend of Zelda game, and the resurrection of the Xeno series to their console all in the same year, I might just accept their apology for ignoring me the last couple of years.

So, along with that, Nintendo has announced that their first of the upcoming heavy-hitters, Xenoblade, will be hitting Japan in June this year. June seems a little more like 'summer' than the originally promised 'spring,' casting some doubt as to whether or not they are truly capable of having an unbeatable RPG year in 2010, but I'm sure they could still prove me wrong if they want to.

Also, they have released a new story trailer, which is embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

Xenoblade will be available for Nintendo Wii on June 10, 2010 in Japan. No date has been confirmed for North America or Europe yet.

[Xenoblade Official Site]

Sega Announces Neptune

If further proof was needed that the PlayStation 3 has taken the curious position of 'niche RPG console' of this generation, look no further than small Japanese developer Compile Heart's latest RPG offering, titled Neptune.

Though still little is known about the game, it appears to be sort of a 'meta-game' (i.e. a game about games), taking place in a world known as the 'Geimu-Gyoukai' (the Japanese word for the video games industry) which is split between the four worlds of Platetume, Rinbox, Lasdition, and Ruwii, each ruled by its own goddess, Purple Heart, Green Heart, Black Heart, and White Heart, respectively. (Certainly by looking at each, you should be able to figure out what they represent, though I'm still not sure what the purple one is supposed to be).

The game is reportedly Compile Heart's first fully 3D title, will be co-developed with Nippon Ichi, Gust, and Idea Factory, and will be published by Sega for the PlayStation 3, though no release date has been mentioned yet.

Well, it definitely sounds... unique. Oh, and the 360-tan they have made for Green Heart is hot.

[Official Neptune Teaser Site]
[All Games Beta]

Nintendo Announces Pokemon Black/White

I'm not sure Nintendo announcing more Pokemon is exactly news-worthy, but here you go anyway.

Nintendo of Japan has announced yet another iteration of their animal slavery RPG, Pokemon, with Black and White. Set for release on the Nintendo DS (of course) sometime this fall, relatively nothing is known about the games yet, with Nintendo promising a full reveal in one week on April 15.

I haven't cared about Pokemon since I played Pokemon Red on my Gameboy Pocket back in junior high (holy crap I'm getting old!), and I can't imagine this to be the game that gets me back in to the craze, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.

Either way, good news for people who just can't stop collecting those rascally pokemon!

[Pokemon Black/White Teaser Site]

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

RPGs of the Week: Welcome to April Edition

There are traditionally a few slow months for video games every year. One of those months is April, the month in which taxes are due and many companies are beginning a new fiscal year. It is also the month that many retailers attempt to clear out last year's unsold stock, and so often are hesitant to stock up on new titles.

Armed with this knowledge, I give you the obviously disappointing haul of the week (April 5 - 10, 2010):

North America

Judie no Atelier: Gramnat no Renkinjutsushi – Toraware no Moribito – Gust – PSP
Mass Effect (Platinum Collection) – BioWare, Microsoft – Xbox 360

Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love – RED, Koei – Nintendo Wii

Wow. You know its slow when even the DS is bereft of anything.

Europe gets the ill-advised Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love Wii port, with no hide nor hair of its PS2 progenitor, while Japan gets a budget reprint of the now ancient Mass Effect, and a PSP port of Atelier Judie.

"Slim pickings" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Anything worth it for you this week?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Day: Square Enix Teases Final Fantasy XIII Alternative

Despite a successful release of Final Fantasy XIII worldwide on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Square Enix has announced that it will be remaking its latest HD epic into a more bite-sized title.

Tentatively titled Final Fantasy XIII Alternative, the game is being redone using the recent 16-bit engine used in the latest Chrono Trigger DS port to bring FFXIII to handheld systems later this year.

"Final Fantasy XIII is a hallmark of this generation," said the game's producer, Yoshinori Kitase, "but unfortunately, HD gaming has limited appeal."

Kitase explains that though the graphical prowess of the PS3 and 360 a nice for kids and single men, most people - especially in Japan, he says - are too busy to sit in front of a TV for over 60 hours to play a game like Final Fantasy XIII.

Porting the title to more portable devices seems like a smart business move in Japan where the games market is currently dominated by the DS and PSP, and even Square Enix's latest in the Dragon Quest franchise made its debut on DS.

"The DS is the obvious first step for Final Fantasy XIII," Kitase said, "but I think the 16-bit graphics engine we have chosen will work on PSP as well as various cellphones."

The game is still apparently very early in its development, but will likely be available early this fall, probably before Nintendo's new 3DS hits the market.

Its important to remember that the screens released here are still from a pre-alpha build, and will probably be cleaned up before launch.

Final Fantasy XIII was not everything I hoped for, but it was decent enough. I'm quite frankly not surprised to see this move from Square Enix, but that doesn't mean I'll be buying it again.

How about you?

UPDATE: Just kidding. ;)