Friday, July 30, 2010

Meet Some Friendly Faces from The Last Story

The latest issue of Jump has revealed three new friendly characters from Mistwalker and Nintendo's upcoming action-RPG, The Last Story. Since I'm very excited to play The Last Story, I have taken the liberty of translating their (very short) character descriptions.

Leader of the mercenary band, Quark met Elza at a young age, and works with him as an older brother figure.

The mood-maker of the mercenary band, Saylen has a foul mouth, but also possesses a kind and considerate side towards her companions.

Though the youngest mercenary in the group, Yuris is a solitary young mage possessing outstanding battle abilities.

Besides Yuris, I think the characters designs for The Last Story are quite cool-looking, and the screens continue to be impressive for a Wii title. Definitely looking forward to this one.

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

Atlus Announces Radiant Historia

With Nintendo's 3DS set to eclipse the soon-to-be-outdated DS sometime this year, you might think that developers will be moving their games to the new handheld. Well, apparently nobody told Atlus about this, as they have just announced a new original RPG for the old DS.

Titled Radiant Historia, the game is being headed by many key members of tri-Ace and Square Enix's charming little PS2 RPG, Radiata Stories. (Hence the game's title?)

Radiant Historia takes place on the warring continent of Vancoor, where 5 countries are all vying for dominance over the others, and follows the story of a spy for the country of Alistell, named Stokk. During a mission with companions Rainie and Marco, the party is ambushed by an enemy unit, and Stokk is badly injured. However, upon regaining his senses, Stokk finds himself in a strange place where space and time twist around him called 'Historia.' Here, Stokk is granted the ability to move through time and space by some mysterious children, and is told that the world needs his power.

The game's battle system is played out on 3x3 'grids,' and seems to combine SRPG elements with basic turn-based conventions (which, as I currently understand it, plays out something similar to Enchanted Arms).

So far, the story seems like an interesting idea, but I can't say I'm sold on the graphics or the battle system right now.

...And Atlus really needs to make an RPG on a non-handheld someday before this console gen is over. Seriously.

Radiant Historia will be available for Nintendo DS on November 4, 2010 in Japan.

You can check out the reveal via the link below to see screens of the game in action.

[Radiant Historia Official Site]

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Namco Bandai Announces 3 Tales of Titles

Namco Bandai is finally showing the PlayStation brand some love with the next three Tales of titles announced for Sony's machines.

The first announced title - and the one with the most information - is an enhanced PS3 port of the previously Wii-exclusive Tales of Graces. Planned for release late this year, the newly dubbed Tales of Graces F will follow the story of the young noble Asbel Lant as he tries to become strong enough to protect those close to him.

So far, we know the updated port will feature a graphical enhancement, new additional Mystic Artes, and the game's heroine, Sophie, will be gettting an updated character design. I expect there will be more additions revealed in the coming months.

Tales of Graces F will be available for PlayStation 3 in Japan sometime this Winter.

The second confirmed title is Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3 for PSP, which apparently will feature over 80 Tales of cameo characters. Woo.

Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3 will be available for PSP sometime next year in Japan.

Finally, the megaton announcement was that the next mothership Tales of title will be debuting on the PlayStation 3.

There is no further info on this title - not even a name yet - but if the single image released by Jump (top of the article) is any indicator, the title looks to have a more mature feel about it than previous entries in the series.

Overall, I am sort of dumbfounded by these announcements. After all the resentment from the last timed exclusive Tales of title, I had thought Namco would have learned its lesson, but apparently not. Initial adopters of Tales of Graces will not be pleased.

As for the unnamed PS3 Tales of game, I imagine it will eventually find its way to other consoles. I mean, ToG just got the same shaft ToV did. This looks to be a continuing trend.

And I can add another reason to why I hate this console generation. Thanks, Namdai.

[Andria Sang]

EA Announces Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Pro Baseball pitcher Curt Shilling apparently loves him some role-playing. So much so, in fact, that he started a video game studio to make RPGs, called 38 Studios.

The first fruits of that is an action-RPG called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, due next year on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

In case you are worried that a baseball player doesn't have the chops to make an engaging RPG, the story is being handled by fantasy novelist R. A. Salvador (known for his work on the Forgotten Realms series, among other titles), the visual direction is being headed by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, and the game design is under the direction of Oblivion designer Ken Rolston.

Quite honestly, Oblivion didn't do anything for me, and I've never understood what people liked about Spawn. R. A. Salvador has some decent works, so I guess I'll bank on the story.

Either way, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning will be available for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in Autumn 2011.


RPGs of the Week: Arc Rising Edition

Hey, there are some new RPGs coming out this week (July 26 - 31, 2010). Check out what they are below.

North America
Arc Rise Fantasia – imageepoch, Ignition – Nintendo Wii
Crystal Monsters – Gameloft – DSiWare

Agarest Senki Zero: Dawn of War – Compile Heart, Idea Factory – Xbox 360
Metal Max 3 – Enterbrain, Kadokawa – Nintendo DS
Wizardry: Boukyaku no Isan – Genterprise – Nintendo DS


North American FINALLY gets Arc Rise Fantasia for the Wii (though I'm told the localization leaves something to be desired), and a DSiWare title that I'd never heard of from Gameloft.

Japan, meanwhile, gets an enhanced 360 port of Agarest Senki Zero, the DS revival of Metal Max, and the newest DS incarnation of Wizardry.

Europe will have to wait for next week, I guess.

Anything for you this week?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

RPGs of the Week: Summer Slowdown Edition

It is a new week, and if it wasn't the summer, that would usually mean new RPGs. But alas, the summer brings with it the usual drought (both of interesting news and new games). :/

Anyways, here's what is coming out this week (July 19 - 24, 2010):

North America

Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono. 2G – Acquire – PlayStation 3
Ninety-Nine Nights II – feelplus, Phantagram, Konami – Xbox 360

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies – Level 5, Square Enix, Nintendo – Nintendo DS

Europe gets the latest Dragon Quest, while Japan gets a remake of Class of Heroes 2 for the PS3 (yay?) and extremely niche Xbox 360 title Ninety-Nine Nights II (which I'm told even some fans of the original aren't so thrilled about).

(Sigh) Summer. What can you do with it?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Last Story might be Sakaguchi's last story

After a 3 month long development stint in Japan, Final Fantasy creator and Mistwalker boss Hironobu Sakaguchi has returned to his home in Hawaii for a brief week for personal reasons.

In his Mistwalker blog, Sakaguchi comments on his team's commitment to The Last Story, stating that they are all pouring 120% into the project, which he says may be his last.

From his blog (translated by yours truly for your English reading pleasure):
"While I'm completely pouring everything I have into this one title, the feeling that this might be my last game is strong. So I am working towards the project's completion so that I have no regrets, but more than that, while having fun."

While it saddens me to think The Last Story may be Sakaguchi's last game, it is shaping up to be a great-looking title, and I think most would agree that Sakaguchi has more than made his mark upon the game industry.

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


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Have Some Dragon Age II Screens and Details

So Dragon Age II will be out sometime early next year.

According to RPGamer, the title will follow a human named Hawke, who, over the course of 10 years, will rise from poverty to become very powerful. The player may create Hawke as either a male or female human, but not as any other race.

In addition to the above info, BioWare has released two new screens from the game, embedded here in this post for your viewing pleasure. I had heard that the visuals were going to be improved, but honestly they don't look very good. Better than the original's? Er, maybe...?

It has also been hinted that the game will feature an upgraded combat system, also reinforced by one of the released screens (assuming that it real-time combat, and not a cutscene).

Either way, Dragon Age II will be available for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 sometime next year.


NieR to be Cavia's Final Game

Ah, Cavia. We barely knew thee.

According to an interview on 4gamer, Drakengard and NieR developer Cavia will be absorbed into its parent company of AQ Interactive within the near future.

Though the reasons remain unclear (NieR: RepliCant was a top seller in Japan, so obviously they are capable of producing results), the interview concludes with info that the Cavia brand will officially be no more.

Cavia has developed many licenced titles besides its action-RPGs, including the Resident Evil on-rails shooting titles for the Nintendo Wii. Though the developers titles have been sort of hit-and-miss for me, I have enjoyed Drakengard II and NieR quite a lot, and it saddens me to see their identity get swallowed up.

I suppose we still may see games from the team under the AQ name, but its still a bit sad nonetheless.


D3 to bring God Eater Burst to North America

Are you one of the few North American gamers into ad-hoc multiplayer casual MMOs in the vein of Monster Hunter? No? Oh, well nevermind then.

If you meet someone who is, though, you should tell them that Namco Bandai's sort-of-sequel to their answer to Monster Hunter, titled God Eater Burst, is making a trip to North American PSPs, courtesy of D3 Publisher. (I love that Namco tries to pretend that they don't completely own D3, and then release their 'other' games under that label. Whatever works, I guess.)

God Eater Burst is basically a giant overhaul of the original title, upgrading the graphics, adding in elements, and increasing the amount of monsters to be slain with or without friends.

God Eater Burst is planned for release on PSP sometime in 2010 in Japan, and reportedly sometime in 2011 for North America.


RPGs of the Week: Dragon Spank Edition

Hello, and welcome to a new week of RPGs.

I can't think of something witty to talk about here, so just check out what's hitting shelves this week (July 12 - 17, 2010):

North America
DeathSpank – Hothead, EA – XBLA, PSN
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky – Level 5, Square Enix, Nintendo – Nintendo DS

Fire Emblem: Shin Monshou no Nazo Hikari to Kage no Eiyuu – Intelligent Systems, Nintendo – Nintendo DS
Last Ranker – imageepoch, Capcom – PSP
Sekaiju no Meikyuu (Atlus Best Collection) – Atlus – Nintendo DS

Puzzle Quest 2 – Infinite Interactive, Namco Bandai – Nintendo DS

Hothead's comedy action-RPG, DeathSpank, hits downloadable networks this week in North America, as does Square Enix's Dragon Quest IX (brought to you by the concerned folks at Nintendo).

Japan, meanwhile, gets another DS Fire Emblem, Capcom's first JRPG in a while (albeit developed by imageepoch), Last Ranker, and a budget reprint of Etrian Odyssey.

And Europe finally gets Puzzle Quest 2 this week.

Anything looking worth it?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Last Story gets its First Trailer

Mistwalker and Nintendo's second joint project, The Last Story, is currently in development for release this year on the Wii. Up until now, the project has been kept under fairly tight wraps, with mostly only concept art and design elements revealed by the developer in a series of blog posts, and the odd Famitsu article dropping a handful of screens and gameplay details.

This morning, though, Nintendo released a full-fledged trailer to the masses, showing off the cast, demonstrating the action-RPGing elements, and even dropping some story elements into the mix.

Being a Wii title, the visuals are predictably sub-par compared with even Mistwalker's previous console offering (Lost Odyssey), but it looks like they've done a lot with the tech they have, and the battle system is certainly Mistwalker's most ambitious project to date.

While this trailer didn't exactly grab me in the way I hoped it would, the title seems like a solid entry into the 7th generation JRPG library, and definitely a game to keep on the radar.

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

Dragon Age II Confirmed (Again)

GameInformer supposedly has the scoop on BioWare and EA's next RPG, Dragon Age II, which is that, yes, it is a real thing.

And besides some splash art on the magazine's cover, that's really all the info we have.

The game will reportedly take place in a 'different' part of Ferelden, have a 'different' hero, and a 'different' story. Yeah, that sounds like it could be a 'different' game! How novel!

Either way, its nice to hear some official word, even if that word is next to nothing. I guess.

Dragon Age II is rumoured to be available early next year for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.


Square Enix Announces Lord of Arcana

Capcom's Monster Hunter is a big thing in Japan. So, when something is big, other developers inevitably want to jump on the gravy train too (just ask Nintendo about what Sony and Microsoft are up to lately). Well, Sega pulled it off with Phantasy Star Portable, and Namco Bandai pulled it off with God Eater, so why not Square Enix?
Lord of Arcana, Square Enix's recently announced PSP casual-MMO-action-RPG-thing isn't even shy about its blatant run for Monster Hunter's target audience, toting the tag line "Surpass a Hunter, Become a Slayer."

Considering its target audience, it may or may not make it across the Pacific. I'd stake the whole affair on a coin toss at this point.

Lord of Arcana will be available for PSP on October 14, 2010 in Japan, with a demo planned for August 19.


RPGs of the Week: Third for 3

I'm slowly starting to come out of my post-E3 depression, which I seem to have to put up with every year (since E3 every year seems to let me down).

As such, a couple of weeks have come and gone without a proper new RPGs list. So here are the games that have/will come out this week (July 5 – 10, 2010):

North America
Persona 3 Portable – Atlus – PSP

Bokujou Monogatari: Futago no Mura – Marvelous – Nintendo DS
Shiro Kishi Monogatari: Hikari to Yami no Kakusei – Level 5, SCEI – PlayStation 3
Zikande Fantasia – Idea Factory – PSP

Breath of Fire III (PSP Essentials) – Capcom – PSP
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP Essentials) – Capcom – PSP

North America gets the third edition of Persona 3 (which though I love, is starting to border on excessive - and who wants to put down money that there will be a Persona 3DS?).

Japan, meanwhile gets the approximately 100th Harvest Moon for DS, the "sequel" to White Knight Chronicles, and Idea Factory's take on Half-Minute Hero, Zikande Fantasia (previously known as Jikan de Fantasia), which looks like the most promising title this week (to me, anyway).

Europe, meanwhile, will have to be satisfied with Capcom PSP reprints.

Oh, and by way of catch up, here are last week's releases (June 28 – July 3, 2010):

North America
N3: Ninety-Nine Nights II – feelplus, Phantagram, Konami – Xbox 360
Puzzle Quest 2 – Infinite Interactive, D3 – XBLA
Trinity Universe – Idea Factory, Gust, Nippon Ichi, NIS America – PlayStation 3

Boku mo Sekai wo Sukuitai – Poisoft – WiiWare
Digimon Story: Lost Evolution – Namco Bandai – Nintendo DS
Elminage II DS Remix: Sousei no Megami to Unmei no Daichi – Starfish SD – Nintendo DS
Inazuma Eleven 3: Sekai e no Chousen!! Bomber/Spark – Level 5 – Nintendo DS


I'm working on NieR at the moment, but I hope to eventually get around to End of Eternity, Puzzle Quest 2, and N3II before the summer ends. What about you?