Some changes have been announced for FFXIII, at least for the retail version.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
This could be good so I pasted it from Xbox 360's blog:
Xtival is BACK!! [4 days ago]
And that means Xbox LIVE Gold membership is free for everyone! That’s right folks – the ultimate online party weekender returns to Xbox LIVE from 1st-4th May and this year we’re really spoiling you!
Fans will be treated to exclusive new content from Placebo, Fightstar, You Me at Six, In Case of Fire and much much more. Plus we’ve been working with our partners MSN to bring you recent footage from The Pussycat Dolls, which is not to be missed. All that plus you can watch LIVE concert footage from rock icons Queen, Bullet for My Valentine, Franz Ferdinand and The Pixies as well as films including the smash hit ‘The Dark Knight’.
But Xtival will offer more than just great music and movies! We’ve also got an exciting range of competitions and game add-ons for Lips, Halo Wars and Call of Duty: World at War, including an Xtival premium theme pack which will be available for everyone to download for free throughout the Xtival weekend. You will also have the chance to not only ‘Watch and Win’ but also ‘Play and Win’ in a series of online tournaments with exclusive prizes on offer, including the opportunity to win a pair of exclusive bling Lips microphones made with CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements!
Set your alarms, cancel your plans, block out your diaries and divert your mobile; Xtival is your chance to round up all your mates and hang out for 3 days to play, watch, listen and party!
For more details, check out Xbox LIVE on your Xbox 360 console!
So over the course of today I saw loads of drunk people..and I had to laugh at them. I was walking home about half 1oish or so, I had to leave early from my mate's party to get a train back home, the first guy I come across is lying in the middle of the pavement with his iPod on and an empty takeaway box in the other hand. Someone asked if he was alright and he was like, "yeah!" or something lol, another guy had fallen in the subway and pwned himself on the escalator, he had a big escalator mark on his forehead...owch lol. The subway staff were pretty concerned, he'd probably have to go to like hospital or something. Another guy on the underground missed his stop and his friend made it, everyone on there started laughing at him, that was pretty funny hehe...And on the train back through here at half 11(the last Glasgow-Edinburgh train) it was full of drunk idiots...one lass was completely out of it, like unconscious or something. Funny thing was, she was sitting on the outside seat, so when someone tried to wake her up to get past for their stop, that wasn't happening at all. I'd laugh so much if she'd missed her stop by like half an hour or something. Drink can screw people over so bad, its all self inflicted which is the funny thing though.
Omg, I must go to the Square Enix museum in Tokyo. Its got insane merchandise and awesomeness!
I will make it there some day! :D
Friday, April 24, 2009
Why can't we have decent games on the PSN over here? Japan have an insane library of games available for download on the PS3 and PSP. NTSC people have a decent amount, but over here in the UK, we get the freakin shaft. I mean, theres like 10 games on there. Seriously Sony, stop suckin balls and get some games on there.
So I'll start with some info about the game and other DQ games.
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (DS) is a remake of the 1990 Famicom title Dragon Warrior IV, which was later remade for the Playstation in 2001.
The Famicom version of the game, known as Dragon Warrior IV. I love the old school visuals, must try it sometime if I can.
And the PS version of the game, which I dont think ever made it to the NTSC or PAL regions, it was just Japan only for this iteration I think. DQ is a much bigger thing in Japan, they are crazy for the games over there, and get some awesome merchandise. Anyway, this screen looks more like the recent DS remake of the game.
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (DS)
Developer: Arte Piazza
Publisher: Square Enix
The game was released last year and is part of Square Enix's remaking of the Zenithian trilogy of DQ games, namely Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen, Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride and Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie. So far DQIV and V have been released worldwide on the DS and we are waiting for VI, which doesn't have a release date set yet. VI hasn't been seen outside of Japan yet, so it will be interesting for Western audiences to see what its like. But I'm getting sidetracked...
I'm still playing through DQIV, only got around to playing it recently, and its actually the first of the main Dragon Quest games that I've played aside from little bits of VIII on the PS2. So far, from what I've seen, I really like it. I'm a big fan of old school games and rpgs, and the Dragon Quest series as a whole is really traditional. They don't like to change too much about the games in the series from game to game, so there are lots of shared aspects between games from what I can tell. Firstly, this one is turn based similar to a lot of the Final Fantasy games. Most of the DQ games are turn based, I dont know if there are any action rpgs, but I doubt it in this series. For me personally, I prefer turn based rpgs, or what some people call traditional role playing games. I like to be able to think things through and plan what I am going to do and although I can deal with some fast paced action rpgs I definitely prefer the slower style rpgs, and DQ games are very slow paced compared to other games. There is so much more text in battles than say, early Final Fantasy games or Breath of Fire games and actions are described in a kind of long-winded fashion, but not overly so, or so that it is a negative thing in my opinion, however this kind of gameplay is one thing critics of the series have against the DQ series.
For those unfamiliar with the games, DQIV is set out is very much like a lot of the other Dragon Warrior games, battle screens are views of the enemy sprites, which used to be static, but now have some frames of movements and are actually seen to attack. I really like this aspect of the game, and always wished the Pokemon games had utilised this simple but effective way of doing things. It just makes you feel more like you are actually in a battle, as opposed to just encountering static 2D sprites, well to an extent. On the other screen are the stats of your party members, as well as nicely drawn and designed portraits of each of your party members. Akira Toriyama, the genius behind Dragonball, Dragonball Z etc designed the characters and monsters in the Dragon Quest games, and his skill really shines through in these. If you like his style, you'll no doubt like the characters he has done for these games even though a lot of the characters look familiar, but thats just his style of drawing, which is awesome by the way. I like the use of the two screens in battles. The DS's screens are pretty small and games that only use one of the screens just really don't feel like they are making the best use of the DS's functions. I mean, there are 2 screens, why not use them? The game uses them even better in dungeons and towns, with the view split over the screens, and the trigger buttons, which allow you to rotate the camera in towns and some dungeons. I only found out about this late on, and it really helped me to find doors or gaps in walls that were obscured previously.
When I talked about the use of the DS's functions previously, that brings me to the touch screen controls, or lack thereof. This would have to be one flaw with the game. For me, I prefer using the buttons to control games on the DS unless stylus and touch screen control is done really well, like in The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass. That game had touch screen and stylus control down to an art. I'd definitely recommend it, I think its one of the best DS games.
DQIV DS doesn't use the touch screens at all, which just feels kind of lazy. All DS games in my opinion should at least have the option for this. Final Fantasy III DS didn't always use both screens, but at least had touch screen control options there for those who like em. When I'm grinding though and going through tonnes of battles I just like to have decent button based controls-those are needed and DQIV is good in that respect, the multitude of menus are easy to negotiate and get whatever info you need and message speed can be turned up really fast, which is always good. If they'd included some form of touch screen stuff in here, this game would have benefited from that, I'm sure.
So far, I've liked what I've seen of the inventory management and item equip screens. Each party member (with the exception of some of the NPC dudes who join) has their own inventory so they can have their own apparel and medicine. Its a nice feature which a lot of other rpg franchises don't bother with. When you look in shops for say armour or weapons, you get indicators as to who can equip each item and how it compares to what they've got equipped. Pretty standard and effective stuff. I like the auto-equip option in there when you buy gear or transfer it from the bag or from party member to party member-it makes things easier. The use of two screens keeps it from ever getting cluttered even though there are lots of menus and status screens throughout the game.
The graphics look nice, definitely in battle as I've said before but also in the field. Nice and colourful, I really like the way you can see when its daytime, when the sun is going down, late at night and even sunrise momentarily when everything on the world map gets a little brighter. Pretty cool attention to detail there. The character sprites look decent enough, as do the many enemies you'll encounter. I'm 19 hours and 20 mins into the game so far and although there are a few palette swaps and reused enemy sprites, they are mostly really cool. One thing I love about the Dragon Quest games has to be the monsters. They have this charm, right down to the names of them, Wiggly, for example just looks like a standard earthworm. I don't know why thats so awesome but it is. I came across a few dinosaur type-looking things called Woolungasaurus when I was travelling about the overworld after getting the boat in Chapter 5. I couldn't figure out why they'd called it that, but I like it for sure lol. The enemies and games themselves have this kind of undeniable eccentric charm throughout. You'll probably either love it or hate it.
I forgot to mention one other thing about Dragon Quest IV that I like. The way the game is set out is in chapters. In these different chapters, you play as different main characters through chapters 1 to 5, in which you get to play as the protagonist for who you chose the name and gender at the start. Chapter 1 for example, sees you dealing with the story of a knight(with pink armour for some reason) called Ragnar McRyan and chapters 2-4 see you playing with different characters who are each developed through the dialogue and quests they have to do. In chapter 5 you play as this "chosen one" and travel across the world meeting up with the other characters from earlier in the game. I liked the way each region in the game world is seperated by little things like the dialogue. People in different towns will talk in different accents, for example in chapter 1, most of the towns you will visit people will speak in what is supposed to be scottish, in chapter 2, you follow the story of Princess Alena and everyone talks in this at times hard to understand Russian accent. Little things like this make the game world more effective and memorable for me, even if it seems like they have just got out a thesaurus and tried to find alternate words for things and jumbled the order of words just to make it more like broken english. It definitely sounds like that in the "russian" and "french" speaking places.
So far I've played about 19 hours and 20 minutes of the game, and I'm in Chapter 5 with just one more of the characters to find (Ragnar from Chapter 1). I've apparantely fought in 660 battles, defeated 1626 monsters, gained 36769 G (the currency) from battle, had 644 victories, been wiped out 7 times, fled from battle 8 times and still to find 127 monsters. This gives me a title of King of Cool. Dunno how they arrive at that, but I like that stats page heheh.
So from what it seems and what I've heard, I'll probably get another 10 or 20 hours play out of the game-there are some sidequests but not too many. I'll update here with some more about the game as I play through. Some spoilers ahead, read on if ya want.
15:05, Fri 24th April
I played some more of DQIV last night before I went to sleep and today to wake up properly lol. I just got this Magic Key from the dungeon hidden under the cave near Aubout du monde or whatever its called. The dungeons in this game so far have been really short and simple. I mean, I'm not necessarily saying every dungeon should be insanely complicated and long like the optional dungeon in Lost Odyssey, the Temple of Enlightenment. That place was pretty brutal, I gave up and used Gamefaqs for that shit.
So far in DQIV, most of the dungeons take like 5 or 10 minutes, with the most complicated that I've seen being the one where you have to get the herb or root thing to cure Kiryl (I think.) It still isn't long, but it had one of those arrow direction conveyor belt so I wandered around there for a while, so it had a bit more to it. I kinda failed at describing that...its basically like a simpler Team Rocket HQ from Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow. Despite the short dungeons I'm still liking the game. I had something else to say, but I forgot..
22:45, Fri, 24th April
Played a bit more of this on the bus and when I got back to the house after I went to my friend's for some Halo 3. I've just really been grinding up my levels getting my team members to similar levels and to the stage where they don't get pwned by the enemies in that dungeon with the switch hidden in a chest. They are quite tough but I think I'm getting strong enough to not have problems on them now. My team is Hero lv17, Meena lv18, Maya lv19 and Kiryl lv15. I'm using them because 3 of em can use healing spells, Kiryl can use buff magic, Maya can use offensive magic and they are all quite good in combat too, well Maya maybe not so much, but I like her spell Bang, that is pretty good. I think Borya could have good spells if I get his levels up enough, seems a pretty good spellcaster. I'm liking this game more and more, I cant put it down!
02:04, Sat, 25th April
A few things about this game that just occurred to me. Firstly, what is the point in the wagon? It allows you to cross the desert somehow and I'm guessing has the party members you aren't using in it. The fact that you have to save at churches only, and can only resurrect fallen characters at churches. It hasn't really been a problem at all, but it slightly bugs me when there isn't one near the dungeon I am grinding in, or wherever I am meant to be going.
Also, the quicksave function is kind of broken. It doesn't delete itself after you load it so if the dungeon you are in allows you to use it (not all do) then you can just save before a boss battle and keep reloading it. Early on, this unusual quicksave function led to some problems for me. When I picked up the game and could'nt remember where I left of, I loaded the quicksave (it doesn't tell you your progress before you choose to load it or not), continued on with the game and eventually saved the game at a church, not knowing that I had loaded an older quicksave, so I lost a bit of progress and a level or two. So to avoid that happening, I try to keep clear of the quicksave in this game. Could be useful though. Its always a good thing to have on a portable rpg. I just find myself closing the ds over whenever I need to get off the bus or whatever.
16:28, Sun, 26th April
Play time on DQIV: 23:38
Yesterday I grinded some more on the train and then easily beat Marquis de Leon and got Ragnar in my party. At first I thought that they werent going to tell me where to go, but I went back in to the Castle thing and asked the NPCs in there, one of whom told me where to go next. Balzack or whatever his name is would be my next target.
Made my way over there and I was keeping up with him in battle for a while, but the fact he could attack twice was really hurting me, and one of his moves was hitting me for about 40ish on all my characters, so he eventually beat me.
Loaded it up today and started grinding on an island north of where he is. Got my guys to Lv20-22 now, not sure if that will be enough. Just about to go face him again and find out.
Jesus...I went in the castle which is now inhabited by monsters and the boss I was going for, and these Hoodoo Gooroos kept casting whack on me...essentially the Death spell of this game...it seemed to work every time on me, but never when I do it. So I nearly got wiped out there again. Gotta grind some more I think.
00:25, Mon, 27th April
I think at this stage in the game, when you are looking for the Zenithian gear, the game seems to attempt to drag itself out a bit, telling me to go to areas I've been to and to other far away places and find stuff with little what could be considered a flowing story. Seems a bit tacked on, but I am still liking it. So the story doesn't seem to flow too well, but the dialogue still seems good to me. When I went to the town of Femiscyra, which was apparantely isolated by the eruption of a volcano which blocked off the route to the town, the people in town sounded like they actually had been in a town which had been in a town blocked off from the world from a while, based on the stuff they say, well its good for an 18 year old game, although its not amazing, it works. Some bits of the game do feel dated.
Anyways, I played some more of the game today, got quite a bit further now I have half of the Zenithian gear I have to collect for some reason that wasnt explained too well. If I ascend to Zenithia, the God of Dragons will help me in my quest to stop Psaro. Maybe...
15:00, Wed, 29th April
I finally beat the game yesterday, got through the final dungeon and the 4 minibosses you have to beat first. The final dungeon wasnt that long, but the hard thing was being a high enough level and having enough MP on my team to take on the endboss (who has 7 forms...) The first few times I tried, I got pretty close(to the 2nd last or last form), but died in the end, so I went back and grinded out some more levels to around lv36-38, healed, put the Goddess Ring on my guys one by one to get their MP back, quicksaved just before and fought him. It was still a close battle, his last form is pretty nasty but I managed it in the end. I think there is some sort of post game content, but I'll leave that for now.
Wanted a fresh game to play so started Digital Devil Saga on the PS2 now.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Almost a year after it was first released in Japan, Tales of Vesperia will apparantely be getting a PAL release on the Xbox 360, as well as an updated PS3 version. I'm interested in this, as although I've not played many Tales games (I've played Tales of Symphonia) I quite like the look of this and enjoyed ToS on the Gamecube. One more reason to get a PS3 for some people right there. I'm determined not to get one, but things are starting to get released that are making me think about it. Still nowhere near a must have console for me yet though, not enough rpgs yet...
This is kinda old news but it still interests me. Tales of Vesperia wasnt always going to come to PAL regions until this news recently. The more JRPGs the better! :P
Some more screens from IGN
The Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises are right up there in the top 3 bestselling rpg series of all time, and the sales data for Square Enix's cash cows have just been released in a corporate strategy meeting apparantely. Mooo....those are some fat cows hehe
Pokemon is the best selling RPG franchise at the moment, with recent release Platinum keeping the sales going, then Final Fantasy, then Dragon Quest, with the remakes of the Zenithian trilogy - IV, V and VI (yet to be released) bolstering the sales.
This is pretty interesting too;
I have all the main Final Fantasy games apart from IX now, and a few of the spinoff games...I must have spent quite a bit on them now, but they are awesome so I dont regret it at all lol!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Now that the demo of FFXIII is available for a while, there has been some feedback of it on the net. Visually, it looks amazing, but I'm not sure what the gameplay system is going to be like. We'll have to wait a while to get our hands on the demo and even longer for the game, but I'm definitely looking forward to this. It looks like they've tried quite a lot different with this one, hopefully it works.
Video from IGN
And some more from Gamespot
News from the last day or two stated that Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii) had been dropped by the publisher XSEED for reasons I cant seem to find. I'm really looking forward to this game and I was pleased to read today that another publisher has picked it up, just a day or so after it had been dropped by XSEED. Ignition has now said that they will bring this Wii rpg to N. American audiences, and a release date is set apparantely for September. Awesome news! I'm really looking to seeing this 2D Vanillaware RPG. I'm playing Odin Sphere at the moment, and really liking it.
I just hope that if it sells well in the US, it will come to PAL regions. If not, I might have to get a hold of a Freeloader disc *cough*
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I played some more Odin Sphere today, I'm on the 2nd book that you get to play through-The Pooka Prince. It didnt take me long to get quite far through this one because I used most of the stuff I knew about the game from the first book - Valkyrie, where you play as Gwendolyn. At first, some of the gameplay aspects were quite confusing to me, for example the Alchemy-I didn't understand that at first, but now I can make useful potions and tonics quite easily...well when I have the materials necessary. That isnt very often, at the moment I have quite a bit of a drought..I dont have materials to make anything like Health Tonics which would be really useful.
I'm right at the end of Prince Cornelius's story, in the Epilogue and my god...its hard... and annoying. I died so much before giving in by returning to the base...meant I have to start the level over, but I could not be bothered anymore. The game is usually hard, but this area just frustrates the hell out of me. I usually play the game on normal difficulty, only really turning it down to Easy when I get stuck or frustrated. I'm not going anywhere near the hard difficulty lol.... But anyway, this sewer area of the Titanian capital or wherever is much harder than anywhere I've seen so far. The miniboss, the Axe Knight took me so long to kill....its that stupid combination of a lack of decent healing stuff some of the time and insanely powered bosses that this game throws at you so often. I finally figured out a way to exploit the goblin reinforcement's poisoned knives to inflict poison on him by killing them and then striking their knives as they fall to the ground. So I did that boss eventually, and then tried to complete some of the other stages in the area...I shouldnt have done that. I was near the end of the area, almost having done all the stages despite the fact I didn't have the map somehow, and went to a 5 star stage. Shit...that place was hard...It has this crazy amount of goblins, the wizard dudes that teleport whenever you attack them and the wee green slimes that are resistant to physical attacks and if they trap you, you are pretty much dead. So I could go on, but thats what pissed me off and made me go back to the start of the level. I'll have to do it over some other time....I'm thinking I'll have gamefaqs open next time I go through, stock up on healing stuff first and then go through only the stages I need to.
It may look like I hate this game, but I actually love it. I really like 2D RPGs such as this, and I like games to have some sort of challenge, like this does. Sometimes though, its quite sadistic...It may just be that I suck a little too much still at the game. Maybe when I get further through I'll be better at it. If I can get past this damn level...
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Teaser trailers arent really always the best trailers, and this one isnt really an exception to that, but still, when the trailer was put up a while back I was excited about this release...I mean the sequel wont be out until some time in 2010, but the first game was really good I thought, with just a few minor flaws here and there. I'd definitely recommend Mass Effect, in my opinion one of the best (western) rpgs on the Xbox 360 along with Oblivion and Fallout 3. Its also on Windows, which could possibly have dealt with the texture issues the game had a bit better.
I just found some more stuff out about this game, I liked the first, but never finished it. Looks like I'll have to finish it before this one comes out in Q4 2009, thats quite a while. Apparantely they ditched the name Bioshock 2: Sea of Dreams. Dont know why, cos that is a nice name...
Looks like Square Enix will be getting more of my money...if I can get a PS3 by then.
Info from Wikipedia;
At the Tokyo Game Show 2006, Square Enix showed a trailer of a director's cut of the film, titled Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete for release on the Blu-ray Disc format. New scenes will be added to the film. The film will also benefit from high-definition video and audio that the Blu-ray format offers. It will also come with a playable demo of Final Fantasy XIII. The cut had formerly been expected to be released in mid 2007, but Square Enix announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2007 that they would postpone the product until 2008.
At the 2008 Square Enix DKΣ3713 Party, it was announced that Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete would be released in March 2009 in Japan, but it was delayed soon after and now has a release date of April 16, 2009. A separate bundle will be sold that includes a demo of Final Fantasy XIII. Both editions will include the first HD trailers of Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII, making them the first released HD trailers of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. It has also been reported that the film will feature a 20-minute long extra movie on the disc which is an anime version of the "Case of Denzel" chapter featured in the On the Way to a Smile novella. It has also been announced that Advent Children Complete will be released in North America on the 7th of June, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
So the DSi is out in the UK now. Its nice and new and shiny(wait, its not even shiny? What the hell? ><) I've already seen lots of people buying them in store.
I'll probably try and keep my eye on the DSi ware stuff and apps, but I will probably forget about these. For me, there is not much going for the Dsi, well not enough for me to buy one straight away....too costly.
It reminds me of the Wii shop channel, which there is lots of nice stuff on, go check it out! For some reason my DS can connect to my router, but my Wii can't....
I dont like the way there is no gba slot, for pokemon games and a lot of other stuff, this really kills the DSi.
There are a few games out at the moment that I've got my eye on. Lots of good PAL RPGs have been released recently-here are a few;
Persona 4 (PS2) - published in PAL regions by Square Enix on March 13th and developed by Atlus this comes boxed with a soundtrack disc. Last time I checked it was around £20 in Gamestation or around £15-20 online. It has had good reviews so far - http://www.rpgamer.com/games/persona/persona4/persona4.html and I wanna pick it up before it goes up in, but I dont think it will for a while. Even if it goes out of the charts in stores here, there should be lots online on Amazon, Ebay etc.
Chrono Trigger (DS) - This got released in the UK on February 26th, 2009. It is a DS port of the fan favourite SNES rpg. I like the way they havent changed too much and they've given the players options to cjoose what they want the game to play like. They have apparantely tacked some extras on, which is good even though they dont flow too well from the game.
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (DS) - released recently in PAL regions, this remake/port has had good reviews so far, I've heard its one of the best Dragon Quest games, so I want to pick it up sometime soon, also because I am playing through DQIV at the moment.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS) - I've talked about this one before. I'm a huge Castlevania fan and I want to try this one soon, I've heard good things about it. Apparantely its VERY hard in places. I love challenging castlevania games, so far I havent been beaten by any of the GBA or DS titles. I'm looking forward to picking this one up.
Star Ocean Second Evolution (PSP) - I recently finished First Departure and I'm looking to pick this one up, its still around £20 though. For some reason I dont like the idea of psp games coming out at £30, I would buy DS games for that much, but unless its a really good psp game, I dont like paying the full price for psp games. Anyway, this one apparantely lacks the polish of the first one, but I still want to play this. I liked the crafting system in the first psp remake even though I didnt fully understand it. Plus its got more of the same anime cutscenes by Production IG, the awesome studio that brought us Ghost in the Shell, Blood: The Last Vampire and lots more. Other games they have worked on have been Children of Mana-I found it dissapointing, but it had nice cutscenes and character designs.