I just wanted to make a quick post to show off the trailer for Atlus’ new, and first HD game, Catherine. I’m not going to go into any depth about the game, as my friend Roy of Kotowari.org has already done so and to a great extent. So if you are at all interested in this game at all I highly suggest you check out Roy’s posts about it. He has covered the info from the trailer, scans from Famitsu (you can also see the images on his site), and some good old fashioned speculation about the game. So if you are interested in this game make sure to head over to his site and get schooled. As for me, I’ll just say that I’m really interested in this game, and love its look and atmosphere. Hopefully we’ll get to see some gameplay at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show in September.
Posts Tagged ‘Atlus’
Yesterday Roy of Kotowari.org posted about a rumor of a sequel to one of my favorite games, Demon’s Souls (click here to read his article). After a few exchanged tweets about it, I started to really think about what I would like to see in a Demon’s Souls sequel. So here is what I’ve come up with so far.
- Friends: I’d like to see some small changes to the online aspects of the game, mainly the co-op. I don’t need there to be voice chat or text chat, as I think those would kind of ruin the atmosphere of the game. I would however like the ability to make a friends list (maybe similar to what is seen in White Knight Chronicles). This way I could choose to summon people off of that list. I’d still leave the ability to summon random people, but having a friends list would allow you to create a clan or group of friends which you could rely on to come to your aid.
- Customization: The first game had some weapon customization and you could dress your character in mix and match armor pieces, but I’d like to see more crafting and more options to create unique equipment. I’m not sure how deep I’d want this system to be, as that isn’t the real focus of Demon’s Souls, but I think adding a way for players to really personalize their characters and equipment would be a nice addition.
- Technical: I love the atmosphere, controls, and look of Demon’s Souls but it could use a small upgrade in some of its technical makeup. The graphics could be brought to the next level using a more powerful engine. Is this really something to harp about? Nope, but might as well try to bring it up a level if you can. I’d also like to see the weightless rag-doll physics of dead bodies fixed. Besides that, just try to make it run as smooth as possible.
- Clarity: Thankfully Atlus created a guide and a wiki for Demon’s Souls, because without them I am sure a lot of people would have been completely lost. I don’t really want more tutorials in the game, but if there was some way to convey the finer details of the systems at work in Demon’s Souls that would be a helpful addition to the game.
- Black Phantoms: You either love them or hate them, but I have some mixed feelings about how they are implemented. I have no problem with them being able to invade your world and hunt you down, or vice versa. However, there were several times when a Black Phantom would invade my game and it became clear there wasn’t going to be a winner. Thankfully those phantoms figured it out as well and left my game, but if they didn’t it would have turned into a war of attrition. With victory going to the guy with more healing items. This may be a rare case, but I would like to maybe see some kind of time limit placed on the Black Phantoms. Maybe the timer could start once they engage you, this way you can’t just run and hide before the timer ran out. Also, I’d like to see something implemented that would keep the same Phantom from invading you back to back. There were several cases when the same player would try to invade my game, after beating them 3 or more times they stopped but it was annoying seeing the same guy keep breaking into my world. Maybe if you beat them twice they wouldn’t be able to invade your game until after they invade a certain number of other players’ games. Just some small things I’d like to see modified in the sequel, but if they were left as is I’d be ok with that.
- Let Me Pause: Ok, I know why you couldn’t pause in Demon’s Souls but that doesn’t mean I have to like not being able to pause the game. There were several times where real life would “interfere” with my gaming, and this can be rather annoying in Demon’s Souls. You’d have to find a safe place to hide and hope that no Black Phantoms invaded your game. There should be some sort of work-around for this. Maybe make it a spell, one that allows you to pause the world for a set time or at least block Black Phantoms from invading. Just something to make sure I can answer my phone in safety.
- More: Yes, I’d like more. Some may say it is sadistic, but I would love to have more Archstones to explore. The one broken Archstone always irked me. Why even include it? It was a horrible tease. I really wish there was a way to open it up and travel to that land. Demon’s Souls is one of those games that just sucked me into its world. I stopped playing all other games and religiously played Demon’s Souls. I think if they could make the sequel a longer experience most fans of the first game would be very pleased.
- DLC: I know, DLC can be a dirty word but hear me out. I would have loved to see more support for Demon’s Souls after its release. Atlus has been kind enough to have some fun with the worlds tendency, but I’d like more content. Like I said before, that one broken Archstone was always so disappointing. I wanted to find a way to fix it so I could travel to that area. I don’t want them holding things back for DLC, or just adding weapons/armor, but if they could create new areas to travel to or demons to fight that would be great. I couldn’t get enough of the first one, so the more reasons for me to continue playing the sequel would be welcome.
- Trophies: If you have the platinum in Demon’s Souls, like I do, you understand why I’d prefer some variation in the trophies in the sequel. I don’t mind that a lot of them were grindfests, but to have some trophies based off super rare item drops isn’t the best idea (I’m looking at you pure bladestone). If they want to make them similar to the first game, just make sure to make some of the required items not so hard to get. Or maybe just explain how the item drop system works in more detail, so the player is aware of what is needed to increase their chances of getting those coveted items, weapons, and ores.
So those are my thoughts as of now. I’m sure I’ll keep thinking about it, as I absolutely adored Demon’s Souls so I’m ecstatic to hear rumors of a sequel. Hopefully Sony will put more money and support into the sequel, as it surely deserves the AAA treatment.
Thanks again to Roy for finding this.
I’m a very big fan of JRPG’s, so when the PS3 launched I didn’t run out and get it since there really were not any JRPGs on the immediate horizon. Since then there have been a few JRPG’s available on the PS3, and the exclusive ones have been extremely good games. Both Demon’s Souls and Valkyria Chronicles are fine examples of spectacular PS3 RPG’s that any PS3 gamer should already own, and are worth buying a PS3 for. So although we’ve suffered from a lack of quantity of RPG’s, especially JRPG’s, it has been more than made up for with the quality of the titles that are available on the PS3. However, it seems we are about to see a flood of JRPG’s hit the PS3 starting in 2010.
Here is a list of all the possible JRPG’s I could think of coming out on the PS3 in 2010.
White Knight Chronicles ~ February 2, 2010
This game seems way overdue for a US release. In Japan they are already re-releasing it with all the add-ons and they announced a sequel at the 2009 Tokyo Game Show. It just kept getting pushed back in the US, much to my dismay. They are adding a ton to the US edition, but if you ask me it should have come out this past summer during the typical low time in gaming so it had room to breathe. Now it will be jammed into what is a busy RPG gaming year, and also a front heavy Q1 with other potential blockbusters like Bioshock 2, God of War 3, and Final Fantasy XIII releasing around the same time. Despite my complaints of delays and a poor release window I am really looking forward to this game. It looks like Level-5 have crafted another fun and enjoyable JRPG.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope, International ~ February 9, 2010.
Finally the Star Ocean series comes back home on the newest PlayStation platform, the PS3. Sadly, this game looks almost too much like the series’ most recent console edition (Star Ocean 3). This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you feel about the last game. To me, it is too much like the last game for me to get too excited about it. It looks like a more shiny and polished Star Ocean 3… and not much more. However, I will end up playing it as I’m a JRPG whore.
Last Rebellion ~ February 23, 2010
Last Rebellion will feature two different main characters, a more artistic art direction, and tactical turn-based combat. You will be able to switch between the two characters during combat, each with their own abilities. The combat will be turn-based, but you can strategically target different parts of enemies to disable them. This way you can reduce the enemies ability to fight back and make it easier to take them down. Being a NIS game, having strategic combat, and a budget price tag all adds up to me being very interested and pretty much sold on the game.
Final Fantasy XIII ~ March 9, 2010
Here is another game that seems way overdue. It feels like we’ve heard about this game since before FFXII was released in the US. Like a lot of people, I’m more interested in FF Versus XIII than FFXIII due to its darker mood. However, FFXIII seems to be shaping up nicely. Most people that played the demo, which came with the Japanese release of Advent Children or at various game shows, have come away being impressed. I personally don’t like most of the character designs, besides Lightning, which is a big disappointment since FF games are very character and story driven. I’m expecting FFXIII to be a very good game, just not sure it will live up to my expectations for a main entry in the FF series.
3D Dot Games Heroes ~ May 11, 2010
Once again, Atlus has come to the rescue of fans of JRPG’s and unique or quirky games. 3D Dot will be a sleeper hit in 2010. It will be another niche game that endears itself to those that actually play the game. Featuring beautiful art direction, customization, and a great sound track it will surely be a very unique and exciting gaming experience. I personally can’t wait for this game, and it is one of my most anticipated games in 2010.
Resonance of Fate ~ May 31, 2010
Resonance of Fate is another new JRPG IP from Sega (who brought us the fabulous Valkyria Chronicles), although it is being made by tri-Ace. Originally I wasn’t too excited about this game, as it was another RPG with guns but after seeing some of the combat my interest as been peaked. It appears to be a mix of real time and tactical turn-based gun combat with a lot of flair to it. You will also be able to customize your characters clothing, hair, and most importantly their guns. All this customization means you’ll be able to tailor the characters’ looks and how they play to suit your style better, which is always a welcome thing in my opinion.
Final Fantasy XIV ~ TBA
FFXIV was one of the major surprises revealed during Sony’s 2009 E3 keynote. It took the audience by surprise. How could they be announcing FFXIV when FFXIII isn’t even out yet? Well, simple. It is a totally different team and style of game. FFXIV will be the next FF MMO. I have my doubts that we will see this in the US in 2010, but you never know. Square Enix could surprise us since the game is supposedly very far along in its development and they’ve had to remain quiet about it due to FFXIII’s development.
Atelier Rorona ~ TBA
Not too long ago NIS America finally came out and confirmed that they are indeed bringing Atelier Rorona to North America. I’m was happy to hear this, as the game might not be the best looking game out there but it does have a certain charm to it. It will focus heavily on alchemy. Which means a lot of item collection, management, and crafting. If you aren’t into those sorts of things you might feel over burdened by the game, but I think it should add a little bit of variation when compared to the other JRPG’s in 2010.
Record of Agarest War ~ TBA
Well, this game was suppose to be available in 2009 but since they decided to bring it to the Xbox 360 as well it has been delayed until spring 2010. Record of Agarest War is a niche game within in an already small niche. It plays like a SRPG with some dating-sim elements as you can breed new warriors by seducing some of the ladies in the game. This should be an interesting PSN title to say the least, but I doubt it will do too well now that it will be pushed up against the more notable JRPG’s in 2010.
Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment ~ TBA
I’m not too sure how excited I am about this game. Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment is a prequel to the original to the original Vandal Hearts game way back on the PS one. It is a SRPG that will place you in the center of a grid-based board, where you have to defeat the surrounding enemies to clear the board. Instead of having to decide where you want to spend experience points they will be distributed for you depending on how you use your characters. So if you use a lot of fire magic for one character, they will naturally continue to get better at using it. This should be true for combat skills and weapons as well. I’m not really into the art direction, but if it comes out at a good price I’ll probably end up getting it.
Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll ~ TBA
For the first time ever KOEI will be bringing the Zill O’ll series outside of Japan with Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll. This entry into the action RPG series is suppose to have a darker tone than the previous games and will feature a non-linear story. You will control three adventurers that have been brought together for some unknown reason. You can switch between these three party members during combat creating combos with them. Another interesting aspect of combat and exploration is that the environments are suppose to fully interactive. This means you can change the environment to access new areas and use the environment to your advantage in combat. Although this game seems interesting, it is being made by the same team that makes the Dynasty Warriors games. Hopefully the combat won’t become as button-mashy as those games.
And here are a few other JRPG’s that only have a Japanese release or aren’t officially announced yet for the US.
Trinity Universe ~ TBA
Trinity Universe is cross-over game between NIS, Idea Factory, and Gust. It will feature characters from titles made by these companies, such as Prinny and Etna from the Disgaea series. There will be two sides to the story of Trinity Universe. You can play as either Kanata or Rizerial, which will align with either demons or goddesses respectively. So it looks like you’ll see the story from two different view points. As you move through the story you will engage in 3D battle, which will be a first for a lot of the characters in the game. The game’s story will play out in slightly animated conversation scenes, which are 2D. It seems like this game will be another unique mash up of JRPG franchises, like Cross Edge, to create a fun new game. Plus we’ll finally see Prinny and Etna in 3D, which is probably a big thing for fans of those characters.
Tales of Vesperia ~ TBA
Tales of Vesperia is probably the game I am most jealous of that has come out on the Xbox 360. I’ve never really followed the Tales series, but I absolutely love the art direction in Vesperia. The character design is really nice, and whatever engine Namco Bandai is using in this game looks gorgeous. Featuring a ton of added content, the Japanese PS3 version easily outsold the lifetime sales of the former Xbox exclusive version in its opening day. This should make it an obvious decision to bring it outside of Japan as well, but there is still no word of that. However, there are some hints that is is being worked on. Hopefully it does become available outside of Japan as it looks like a great JRPG.
The Last Remnant ~ TBA
Maybe, just maybe this game still exists for the PS3. However, I highly doubt it. But for now, since I haven’t heard that Square Enix has officially announced that is has been canceled, I’ll go along and say that it will emerge from the lost land of vaporware to become a real game sometime in 2010. If this does happen, it better run smooth with none of the problems that severely hampered the Xbox 360 version. Also, SE should consider releasing it for a discounted price just to make it a more attractive purchase to busy JRPG gamers.
Ar Tonelico III ~ TBA
Ar Tonelico III will be the first Ar Tonelico game to feature 3D character models for combat, but it will still have 2D character portraits. Very little is known about Ar Tonelico III right now, but I expect it will follow a similar story to the ones featured in the previous game. Most likely it will center around the relationships between Humans and Reyvateils, and the towers they live in. Even though it hasn’t been announced for NA yet the other games in the series were brought over by NISA so I’m pretty sure they will bring this one over as well.
With all of these JRPG’s coming in 2010, or rumored to be coming out around then, I almost feel like it is too much. I really wish a few of them had come out earlier or hope that they are at least spread out through the year. Otherwise people will be skipping games due to a sheer lack of time to complete all of them, especially if they are going after the trophies for all these games. I guess I shouldn’t complain, at least there will be options for PS3 JRPG fans in 2010.
Thank you Atlus! Once again you come to our rescue. There is a new site up for the NA version of 3D Dot Game Heroes thats gives us some new and important information about the game. It seems Atlus won’t only be saving you from having to learn Japanese, but they will also be saving you some of your hard earned cash. They will be localizing 3D Dot Game Heroes for NA with a release date of May 2010. That is still pretty far off from now, but I think it will be well worth the wait. If you couldn’t tell from my previous post about this game, I’m extremely excited about it. Also, like I mentioned earlier they will be bringing you this quirky unique game for the low price of $39.99. I know, it is awesome. My only question now is are there going to be any pre-order bonus materials? I really hope they include a soundtrack like they did for Demon’s Souls… Don’t let me down Atlus. Really looking forward to this game.
Demon’s Souls / Publisher: Atlus USA / Developer: From Software
Platform: PS3 / Genre: Action RPG / Release Date: October 6, 2009
Ok, before I get into the meat of the review I feel like I should comment about the game’s infamous difficulty level. Demon’s Souls can be tough and isn’t for impatient gamers. It has no problem letting you know this right from the start of the game. I won’t say how, but there are specific conditions that you must meet to get to the Nexus that acts as your hub world in the game. However, I do not feel that the difficulty comes from broken or cheap game mechanics. Instead it makes you learn and understand your surroundings, enemies, and abilities. If you die, it is most likely that you aren’t playing the game correctly or were impatient. This isn’t your typical action game, so you cannot just rush in and cut your way trough the enemies. Even the most basic enemies can kill you if you are not careful. Demon’s Souls takes patience, which is why I think a lot of people are finding it to be a very hard game. So if you don’t have a lot of patience, don’t like doing your fair share of grinding, or if you like your games quick and easy then you probably aren’t going to enjoy Demon’s Souls.
The kingdom of Boletaria has become enshrouded in an oppressive fog. This fog has consumed the kingdom because the King awoke The Old One, a massive demon that feeds on souls, from its slumber. It seems The Old One decided to bring along some friends, as a plethora of demons have taken over the kingdom. They devour souls in order to become stronger. The people of the kingdom have either been killed or their souls have been consumed by these demons, which causes them to become mad. This is where you enter the failing kingdom of Boletaria. You are just one of many adventurers who have come to slay the demons and lift the fog. However, you will be very much alone in your quest.
Despite playing through Demon’s Souls for about the forth time for this review, I’m still finding it hard to describe how this game actually plays. So forgive me if I ramble a little bit.
At the beginning of the game you get to create a character. The most important part of this is choosing your class as it will determine what equipment and stats you start off with, but don’t stress out about it too much as you can adjust these things later with a little work.
Demon’s Souls is an action RPG, with a heavy emphasis on the action. Everything happens in real time in this game, including using items and even accessing the menu. The combat feels similar to what is found in a Monster Hunter game, but not nearly as awkward. You have a strong and weak attack, you can parry or block, and you can also dodge and roll to avoid attacks. Your actions consume different amounts of stamina, so you have to engage in strategic combat. There are a lot of options for how you’ll end up fighting. You can dual wield, use one weapon with two hands, or use a shield and another weapon. You can become good with magic and miracles, think of this as black and white magic respectively. Bows, crossbows, and some smaller thrown objects make up your non-magical ranged attacks. I found a solid combination of all of these to work against different enemies and in different situations. So be prepared to mix things up if you are having trouble getting through a section.
Like I stated above, the weapons, armor, and magic available to you will originally depend on what class you choose at the beginning of the game. However, you don’t really need to worry too much as you can level your character however you like. This allows you to become able to use numerous weapons, magic, and armor. Plus it allows you to build up stats that might have been too low due to the class you went with. Instead of gold, souls act as the currency in Demon’s Souls. You will need a lot of these as they are used for everything in the game. Souls can be traded in to buy items, weapons, armor, magic, miracles, and also to level up your character and equipment. So you’ll want to gather as many souls as you can.
Along the way to collecting more souls and fighting more demons you will die, and most likely numerous times. When you die in Demon’s Souls it isn’t game over. If you have your physical body and you die you will come back in soul form. This means your HP is cut in half but your attacks become stronger. There is one item that I recommend seeking out early in the game. That item is the Cling ring. It that gives you more HP while in soul form so you aren’t at such a disadvantage. In order to get your body back you need to defeat a major demon, aid another player defeat a major demon, or break into another players world and defeat the player. Besides the health bonus, there really isn’t all that much to gain from having your body. Plus I noticed that I played even more conservative when I had the body, but eventually you’ll come to realize that dying in Demon’s Souls is just a part of the game and loosing your body is only part of the experience. When you do die, you lose all the souls you’ve gathered. However, you leave a bloodstain that you can work your way back to and reclaim those lost souls. If you die again before doing so those souls will be lost for good.
There are no checkpoints in Demon’s Souls. So when you die you start form the beginning of the level and have to fight your way back through all the enemies and traps. This can become tiresome to some people, but for some reason it never bothers me while playing this game. Like I said before, if you take your time and are patient you can usually survive most encounters. The lack of checkpoints isn’t really noticeable unless you are trying to rush through the game and frequently dying.
Demon’s Souls controls and combat are great. It is a ton of fun figuring out how to take down different enemy types, exploring the dark worlds, and finding a combat style that suits you. Slaying the larger demons is also feels like an accomplishment, especially if you do it on your own. There is a great deal satisfaction to be found within the challenge of Demon’s Souls.
Don’t expect to be able to play any form of traditional online multiplayer in Demon’s Souls. Instead, you’ll find a new and unique take on online that seamlessly blends into the single player experience. You can divide the online aspects of Demon’s Souls into two categories, passive and active.
The more passive aspects of Demon’s Souls online play consists of things like messages, bloodstains, and ghosts of other players. While you are online you’ll see messages written on ground. These are from other players and can have anything from a hint to just saying hello. They can also lie, so be careful of which ones you choose to listen to. There is a rating system; so the higher the message is rated then the chances are that it is more reliable. You can also leave a message whenever you’d like, by using the select button. You will also notice bloodstains covering the floor. Other players leave these when they die. If you touch it, it will show the last moments of their life as a red ghost appears and does a replay of their actions. Also, you will see white ghosts phase in and out of your world, as you play online. These are other players going about their business in their own world.
The active aspects of Demon’s Souls’ online involve your interactions with other players. These players are called phantoms. After obtaining special stones, you will be able to make yourself available for co-op play by becoming a blue phantom or engage in PvP by breaking into another player’s world as a black phantom. You can also recruit blue phantoms to aid you when you have your body. This is a fun alternative to the normal play, but can be avoided all together by just playing offline if you don’t want people jumping in your game. Also, I highly recommend you play through as much of the game as possible without the aid of blue phantoms since using them can make the game almost too easy.
Overall, the online aspects of Demon’s Souls feel right at home with the single player component of the game. It is primarily a single player experience, so having the online aspects blend into that is a great way to expand the game while keeping true to spirit of the game. RPGs are usually a single player affair, but if more games can incorporate online aspects similar to Demon’s Souls I think more RPG fans would welcome it.
Demon’s Souls is one of those games that comes along and unabashedly consumes you. It is hard to explain why this game resonates with me so much, but it is one of those games that once you start playing it you don’t want to play anything else. I’ve sunk a ton of time in my import of the Asian release of Demon’s Souls and have started to do it all over again with the NA version. It is an instant classic in my opinion, and easily one of the best PS3 games to date. I just hope enough people give Demon’s Souls a chance. If you are a fan of dark atmospheric games, challenging games, and action RPGs you should go out and pick this up right away. Maybe if it finds a large enough audience in NA we will be able to return to the dark and unforgiving world of Demon’s Souls in the form of a sequel.
Way back in February of this year I decided to import my first game thanks to the PlayStation 3 (PS3) being region free. Demon’s Souls was the game to lure me into importing. So I pre-ordered the game from play-asia.com and then patiently waited for its arrival.
It arrived shortly after the release date (Feb 25, 2009). Thankfully my pre-order was placed early enough to bypass the shortages of the Asian version, which had “full” English support. Unfortunately, I also received my copy of Killzone 2 (KZ2) on the same day from Amazon.com. So now I had two diametrically different and promising games in my hands. Which one would win out for my attention?
I eagerly played both games. KZ2 floored me with its graphical prowess, heavy and tense action, and great atmosphere. It had lived up to its hype and more in my eyes. However, I kept finding myself spending more and more time lost in the dreary and deadly world of Demon’s Souls. I would find myself playing this game whenever I turned on my PS3, and feeling guilty for not going further in KZ2. Hours would pass as I explored new areas, faced new demons, watched other players phase in and out of my world, and went about collecting souls to upgrade my character. Demon’s Souls had its small technical problems, but they were easily forgotten in the satisfying action and immersive atmosphere of the game.
If you can’t tell, Demon’s Souls won out. Hell, I still need to go back to KZ2. But with the upcoming release of the NA version of Demon’s Souls I just don’t know when that time will come. This is in no way a slight at KZ2, as I really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with it and look forward to completing it. Most likely my affection for RPGs played a strong role in the way I felt about Demon’s Souls and why I migrated towards playing it over KZ2. However, I’ve already beaten the Asian Version of DS and I’m already about half way through a new game+ in it as well. So I’ve spent a lot of time with that game. One would think I’d be bored with it. That is not the case, as I pre-ordered the Deluxe Edition of Demon’s Souls as soon as it became available. Sorry KZ2, you’re going to have to wait a while longer as I plan on fully enjoying the localized version of Demon’s Souls with my fellow NA PS3 owners. I will post a review of the NA version once I’ve felt like I’ve played enough to experience the difference between the two version. However, I’ll give you a small clue to what it will most likely be by just saying that the Asian version is so far probably my favorite PS3 game of 2009.