I'm currently looking for paid writing gigs, so if you might want anything written shoot me a message (craighats at hotmail dot com).
In case the contents of this blog don't make it obvious enough, I have something of an affinity for slightly "offbeat" titles, so if there's something out there that few others cover, there's a fair chance I'm at least somewhat up on it.
If there's any sort of (reasonable) inquiry you'd like me to address, please don't hesitate to be in touch.
Below are a handful of recaps and other links (oldest listed first by section), in case you're interested - asterisks mark promoted articles.
Yeah, at this point the thing is so bloated that I couldn’t look at the “normal” title without getting embarrassed. Anyway, on to the copious heaps of obscure gaming news -
Here’s one for those who enjoyed some of the old computer shooters from back in the day – Psytronik Software is working on a remake of Cyberdyne Systems’ Commodore release Armalyte. I’m personally not a big “Euroshmup” fan, but plenty out there have fond memories of the original and would definitely like a go at this – for all of you, the developer blog is here, a video preview is over here, an interview with the team is this-a-way, and you can download a one-level demo by clicking right here.
More love for Commodore-era shooting fans – a handful of intrepid doujin developers have released Warhawk for the DS, a “re-imagining” of a mid-80’s computer shmup (not the PS3 online combat title). Again, the overall style of the era isn’t a personal favorite, but that shouldn’t stop those of you who like it from checking this out.
Few people outside the shmupping community (and even a fair amount within it) are aware of the existence of Gaia Seed: Project Seed Trap, a Japan- and PS1-exclusive side-scrolling shmup, which, while not a bad play, is stupidly rare and expensive to get ahold of. Well, at least for those who don’t get it on PSN – believe it or not, this obscurest-of-the-obscure title is now downloadable for a fraction of the price of a disc-based copy. Those of you who know how to get stuff from the Japanese store and interested in playing something few others have, get to it!
Some interesting comments from the executive producer at PM Studios, most recently responsible for DJ Max Fever on the PSP, and currently working on not only DJ Max DS but Strikers 1945 Plus on PSN. When asked what else we might expect from the company in the future, he mentions, among other things, “another shooter, like Strikers 1945.” Hmm, I wonder what it could be? Stay tuned!
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny has been officially listed as releasing in Japan on August 27th – no word on a date for the localized version, but hopefully it won’t be too far behind. Elsewhere in Namco-ville, check this link for spliced (but in-game) footage of Tekken 6’s Paul and Kazuya settling their differences in a calm, adult manner (or not).
Was anyone else curious as to why there was an ad for Battle Fantasia included with their copy of BlazBlue (speaking of which, check out a handful of developer comments for the game here)? Well, this looks like a possible explanation - while there was a PS3 version of Fantasia released in Japan and Europe, it never made it here. However, it’s been announced that American PS3 owners will get a late shot at the game – as a download from PSN. A bit of a nose-thumbing at niche game fans who prefer physical media, but definitely better than nothing (especially since a rep apparently hinted at “some surprises”)…I’m a good deal more miffed at the Fate: Unlimited Codes situation, but you’ve already heard me grumble plenty about that.
Look out, fighting fans – I previously reported that King of Fighters XII had been delayed two weeks from its original domestic release date (which was this very week, before the move), and while that seems to be holding (at least officially) for the moment, the Japanese release date has also been changed from July 16th to the 30th. We’ll have to wait and see if and how this affects us…in the meantime, have a bit more footage.
Amidst the excitement over all the shiny new fighter releases that we’re getting here, I accidentally overlooked a significant upcoming Japanese release, namely Melty Blood Actress Again for the good ol’ PS2. The site has most of the info you’d care to access (if you can read Japanese, anyway), though I’m having trouble pinpointing exactly what might be included in the “First Print Limited Edition”. Anyone more linguistically-abled than myself have anything to add?
Actually, I’ve been ignoring two Japanese fighter releases of note, the other being Shin Goketuji Ichizoku: Matsuri Senzo Kuyou, aka the latest entry in the goofball Power Instinct series, which I haven’t mentioned for awhile now. Click here for a video of some relatively “normal” super moves and such interspersed with the utter, frothing insanity that the games are known for – as usual, the old folks have the most impressive (and disturbing) stuff on offer.
I mentioned doujin crossover fighting project Card Sagas Wars in the Tribune waaaay back when, but hadn’t heard anything new about it since – fortunately, the project’s leader (his DeviantArt account is here, if you’d like to check out his sprite work) just put up a new video showing a match between Link (Legend of Zelda) and Cloud (Final Fantasy VII). Yeah, that matchup is sort of a fan cliché, but the video still looks good, and is worth watching even if only for the “Cucco Storm” move about halfway through. According to this there’s no planned date for a demo release yet, but it’s still always good to see something new come out of the project. (Dangit, looks like a fellow c-blogger got to this before I did – check his post here, as it includes a few older videos and a link or two not featured here.)
While offhand the game looks a little too lacking in overall appeal for me to spring for, it’s still too kooky for me not to at least mention here – check JusticeDude’s review of Kamen no Maid Guy for the PSP, and consider with equal parts disbelief and wonderment how the Japanese can keep on coming up with this stuff. It’d probably qualify as miraculous if it wasn’t so unnerving.
Finally, while not the “tourney” type of fighter I usually cover in this section, I’m sure most of you already noticed that Atlus is bringing Japanese PSP punk kid simulator Kenka Bancho 3 to the US – as this trailer for the JP release shows, it’s all about being a tough (and stylish) gang leader and beating the snot out of rivals, though obviously it doesn’t take itself too seriously, considering the over-the-top Rival Schools-esque combat moves on display. Moreover, Atlus is asking the Faithful (its newsletter subscribers) to choose from a list of possible English titles – as was mentioned in the comments following DToid’s coverage, I would have probably gone for the rejected “Dueling Banchos,” but ah well, it’s an imperfect world.
SCORE, baby! It’s official – the first non-Iris Atelier game is coming to the US, in the form of Atelier Annie for the DS. The only timeframe given so far is “this fall”, but I’m still thrilled to see Gust becoming brave enough to send more stuff our way. Now bring on Rorona! (DToid coverage here.)
More rather uplifting NIS-related news – when Sakura Wars: So Long My Love was announced as being localized, there was speculation that there simply wouldn’t be room for two language tracks on the disc, and wonderment as to whether NISA would either stick to subtitles only or nix the Japanese voices altogether. Turns out they came up with a different solution altogether – put each language on a separate disc, and release them together (and keep the price set at a modest 40 bucks, to boot). I can’t recall having heard of this sort of thing before (anyone else seen this done elsewhere?), but it’s good to see that NIS is ensuring that nobody’s preferences are left in the lurch when it comes to this game.
While I enjoyed the concept and general aesthetics of Rhapsody on the PS1, the game itself fell rather flat otherwise, and unfortunately its superior follow-ups (unless you count La Pucelle never left Japan – either way, though, it looks like NIS is semi-resurrecting the series, via Princess Antiphona’s Hymn: Angel’s Score Op. A for the PSP. Obviously nothing regarding a possible trip our way is out there yet, but the Japanese release will be sometime in October – let’s hope that this gang follows the Disgaea 2 cast to local PSPs at some point. (DToid coverage here.)
A hunk of you probably already saw this on the front page, but in case you missed it, Demon’s Souls was confirmed to possess a release date of October 6th – all pre-orders come with an art book. Moreover, if you’re willing to cough up an extra ten bucks you can get ahold of the LE (or, as Atlus would have it, the “Stop Importing It” Edition), which includes a sizable strategy guide and slipcover. Also check here for some additional info about the game. Prepare to die a lot!
If you’re still playing Disgaea 3, and moreover looking for additional virtual bragging rights, there’s some new trophy tasks on the way, via a patch. Unfortunately, if you install said patch any previous save data will become unusable, so if you want to hang onto your current file you’ll want to think twice about putting this on your PS3. The full list of said trophies was recently added here.
I’ve never been a big Might and Magic follower, personally, but the oddball battle system of upcoming DS entry Clash of Heroes, as DToid previews here, looks interesting enough to at least get my attention. It ain’t gonna outdo Knights in the Nightmare on that front, I’m sure, but I’ll certainly devote a bit of cpverage to anyone who attempts something along those same lines, and shakes things up a bit.
Relatively regular Tribune readers might recall my mention of Tears to Tiara, a PC ero-SRPG that was cleaned up, changed from sprites to 3D models, and ported to the PS3 a little ways back – well, apparently the developers (and consumers) are liking the new territory, as a side story, Mystery of Avalon, is being released in September. In case you’re interested, click here for (SFW) footage of the PC original and here for the first few minutes of the PS3 port.
While we were busy keeping up with the slightly higher-profile niche titles (how’s that for irony?), Laevatein Tacticsquietly snuck onto Gamestop’s DS preorder list, with a release date of September 29th and a 30-buck price tag. I also took a minute to dig up a YouTube video of the Japanese version in action – off the cuff it doesn’t look a whole lot different than the slew of SRPGs already available on the system, but hopefully there will be a bit more word on what the title has to offer before it hits shelves. I like Aksys but was largely unimpressed with Into the Abyss, let’s hope this turns out better…
Speaking of which, here’s another mention of Tactics Layer, another DS SRPG that I referred to a bit ago – it’s got a handful of dating sim elements to separate it from the pack, and according to the link is pretty easy to figure out, so if you’re hankering for a particularly Japanese take on the genre you might want to step over the threshold and go for the import.
Aaaaand another one for DS gamers, a “regular” RPG this time – click here for a whole bunch of screenshots of Summon Night X: Tears Crown. No word on a possible localization for this one, as far as I know, so this gander’s all there is to offer for now.
More quite-likely-erroneous Gamestop matlockery: for the moment, A Witch’s Tale is slated for an October 6th shipping date on Gamestop’s website, while Arc Rise Fantasia looks to be released on February 17th. I’m only semi-interested in either of these titles offhand, but maybe a bit more concrete info would change my mind…
So, apparently Super Robot Taisen OG Saga wasn’t shameless enough for you? Well, you’re in luck, as Queen’s Blade: Sprial Chaos is set to hit the PSP in Japan later this year. DToid has some info and…uh, media for your viewing…er, pleasure – in spirit it looks similar to OG Saga, featuring one-on-one battles and lots of brazenly, unapologetically large…eyes. Could it actually be a solid title underneath all the, eh, accoutrements? It’s a long shot, but one can still hope…
Oh, and I’m not done yet! Some of you might have heard of “that WW2 strategy game where the planes and tanks are replaced by cosplaying anime girls” – well, it’s coming to the 360 in Japan, under the fittingly silly title Deluxe Ultra. As a proud Ar Tonelico fan I suppose it’s obvious that anime-styled fan service isn’t enough to turn me off from a title on its own, but I’m not a big fan of Dai Senryaku, the series this game is spun off from (if you’re curious, one of those titles is domestically available on the PS2 and XBox, and for cheap), so even if this comes here I’ll probably pass. (DToid coverage here.
In leftovers for this section, here are some miscellaneous details concerning the battle system for Magna Carta 2 and some additional information on Half-Minute Hero.
For a long while I continued to pass on acquiring a copy of Soul Bubbles for myself, despite the good things I kept hearing about it (shame on me), but after seeing this trailer for the Japanese localization I finally had to snag one, and am considering devoting an article to it. Anyway, good to see the game setting out for new territory, I certainly hope it convinces the overseas market more easily than it convinced me. *sulks in shame*
It looks like frequent Tribune citation Sands of Destruction is also having its spinoff anime localized, along with the actual DS game – the latter is currently still set to drop in January, while the cartoon will air sometime in the spring. I’m not much of an anime watcher (or anything watcher, really), so someone else is going to have to tell me whether it’s worth tuning in for. (DToid coverage here.)
If you click here you can read an interview with the creative director of Scribblenauts. If that’s not enough on its own to encourage you to do so, I don’t know what to tell you.
Fellow DToiders continue to find pretty cool stuff – first on tap is unang, doing unang things, i.e. digging up wacky Persona-themed media, his latest exhibit can be found here. Covah also has a pair of images related to Vyse’s cameo in Valkyria Chronicles.
Another possibly interesting note from the front page – NIS America is looking for a localization editor, effective immediately, so if you’re interested in that kind of work and are in the Santa Ana, CA area, head over here for the details. I’d love to try my hand at this, but my skills probably aren’t up to par…not to mention the thousands of miles I’d have to commute to work, but eh.
Another upcoming expo I’ve (almost) missed – for DToiders in California who love all things arcade, you might want to make some time over the next few days to attend the California Extreme event at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. If you’re going, toss up a c-blog entry to give the rest of us a taste!