Archive for the ‘Atlus’ Category

Catherine Trailer & More (Via Kotowari.org)

August 21, 2010

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.

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What I’d Like To See In A Demon’s Souls Sequel

February 11, 2010

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.

The Top 10 PS3 and PSP Games I’m Looking Forward To In 2010

February 2, 2010

3D Dot Heroes Games

I have always been a sucker for great art direction and charm, both of which this game seems to have. Simply put, this homage to Zelda just looks like a lot of fun to play. I love the whole idea of taking an 8 or 16 bit game and making it 3D. Hell, that is at the heart of the story of this game so you know it is going to be quirky and  humorous.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

I don’t know too much about this game, but it has gotten my attention. First off, it looks really good graphically and from an art direction standpoint. It also seems to have well done voice work, a dark and interesting atmosphere/setting, and solid sound design. Gameplay wise it similar to a lot of other third-person action games, which might be a bad thing since there are already a bunch of those games coming out this year. However, there is enough here to get me interested (especially since Kojima is associated with the game) and set it apart just enough to make me really want to know more about the game.

Final Fantasy XIII

The Final Fantasy series has always been one of my favorite gaming franchises. So it is no surprised that the latest installment would make my most anticipated list of 2010. However, unlike almost all the other FF games FFXIII isn’t my most anticipated game this year. I still have my concerns that the game won’t live up to my expectations, but I do think it will be a quality game that I will end up really enjoying.

God of War 3

For the most part the first two games are considered to be at the top of the third-person action genre. So why would the third and final installment of this epic series be any different? From the trailers, new screenshots, and the demo one can easily tell this is going to a very slick game. It will not only look incredible, but play just as good. I can’t wait to see how the trilogy ends.

Heavy Rain

It is kind of hard to explain this game, or even why I’m so interested in it. I guess the main draw is that it is something very different than most of the games available now. It is going to be a game focused on story, which really appeals to me. On top of that it is going to be a more mature game. Heavy Rain is being described as a physiological thriller, and I really hope it lives up to this description.

The Last Guardian

Here is another game that I have trouble explaining the appeal of to other people. If you have seen the trailer then you should know why I am really looking forward to this game. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and I’m not just talking about the graphics or art direction (although, both of those are top notch as well). Once again it seems Team Ico have crafted a unique, inspiring, and emotional world. You can’t help but get drawn into the world presented in the trailer. I can’t wait to experience this game, but I sure hope neither the creature or the boy end up dying in the end.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Do I really need to say anything more than it is a MGS game that Kojima is directly, and heavily, involved in. Hell, just recently he said that Peace Walker would have been MGS5 if it was on a console and not the PSP. It looks great for a PSP game, and seems to have updated the controls from the previous PSP game MGS: Portable Ops.

Read Dead Redemption

If you’ve been reading my other posts you knew this game was going to be on the list. Even with all the JRPG’s, my favorite genre, coming out in 2010 Red Dead Redemption has a firm grasp on my gaming interests. It is one of those games that I wasn’t sure about, but as more info and video has been released I find my self being incredibly psyched about this game.

Valkyria Chronicles 2

The original Valkyria Chronicles is not only one of my favorite PS3 games, but it is one of my favorite games of all time. I loved everything about it. One of those games that I will always want to go back and play again once every once and awhile. So when they announced Valkyria Chronicles 2 I was super excited. However, like most of the fans of the first game I was very disappointed to see that it was for the PSP instead of the PS3. It will always feel like it could have been better, but from what I’ve seen so far the sequel looks like it is shaping up to be a great game. It has the potential to be one of the few PSP games that will keep me off of my PS3 for a good amount of time.

White Knight Chronicles

Finally! I’ve been waiting for this game for so freaking long. I love most of Level-5’s games, so when they announced a new JRPG for the PS3 I was immediately on board. Besides having a deep single player campaign, WKC also has a MMO-like online multiplayer. Thankfully this game will be coming out this week so I won’t have to wait much longer.

Honorable Mention

Dead Space 2 – Not sure if this is even coming out in 2010, which is why it is not in the top 10. If it turns out to be coming out this year then I’ll have to adjust my list. I loved Dead Space so I can’t wait to get back to killing necromorphs.

Final Fantasy XIV – I’ve never played any MMO’s, mainly because I don’t game on a gaming PC and I also don’t like the idea of monthly fees. I almost took the plunge with FFXI, but didn’t feel like dealing with all the extra crap you had to do to get it up and running on the PS2. Now that the PS3 has a harddrive and wifi, all I have to come to terms with is paying to play. If enough of my friends get into this game then  I am sure I’ll end up getting into it.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII – To be honest, I am much more excited about this game than FFXIII. However, since we don’t know when this will come out I am dropping it out of my list. Hopefully this game will end up as good as the trailers look. The characters and setting is just more appealing than FFXIII.

Metal Gear Solid Rising – Another game with no real release date, but I am interested in seeing what they do with this game. Raiden in MGS4 was pretty freaking awesome, so basing a whole game around him sounds like a great idea. However, since it won’t be using the same engine as MGS4, will be multi-platform, and Kojima isn’t heavily involved I have my doubts that it will live up to my high expectations.

Classic Dungeon: Magic Team Assistance – Not sure when we will see this in North America, but as soon as NISA makes it available for pre-order I will be putting out the cash for it. There isn’t a ton known about the game, but what I do know is that I’m interested in everything I do know about the game. Plus, the game gives me the same vibe that other NIS titles and Half-Minute Hero did.

Could 2010 Be The Year Of The JRPG For The PS3?

January 18, 2010

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.

My Top 10 PS3 Games of 2009

January 1, 2010

Ok, so 2009 is almost over and I figured I might as well do a top 10 list. This list will be for games available on the PS3, either disc based games or games available through the PlayStation Store. I’ll be listing them alphabetically, since I don’t really feel like listing them from 1-10 since I know it would be very hard for me to pick between some of these games and it doesn’t matter as I think they are all must own games.

Assassin’s Creed 2
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I was in the minority, as I actually enjoyed the first Assassin’s Creed. Luckily it sold well, so Ubisoft was able to correct the mistakes of the first game. In the sequel you still get to sneak around on roof tops, stealthily take down guards and other targets, and free run across several locations. However the sequel adds more combat moves, weapons, varying side missions, and maybe a better setting and protagonist depending on your opinion. Overall, it takes what was an already really good game and brings it to the next level. Reaching a lot closer to its potential than the original Assassin’s Creed did, this game is a must have for any fan of action games.
Assassin’s Creed 2 review coming soon.

Borderlands
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If you are into loot and long games, then go out and pick up Borderlands. There is a lot to do in this FPS with RPG elements. Along with Demon’s Souls, Borderlands became a huge time sink for me. The smooth shooting controls and constant lust for new weapons makes you want to keep playing the game. This game is what I wanted Fallout3 to be. You know, actually fun. Plus if you are into co-op you really need to get this game, as you can play through the whole thing with up to 3 friends.
Check out my review here.

Critter Crunch
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With a ton of charm, humor, amazing art direction, stunning graphics, and solid puzzle mechanics Critter Crunch was easily one of my favorite games of 2009. The game has character and heart. You can tell the studio, Capybara Games, behind the game poured their love into this game. If you are at all interested in puzzle games you have to pick up this great PSN game. If not, try the demo and you will most likely immediately become enamored by the game and want to pick it up.
Check out my review here.

Demon’s Souls
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Thank you Atlus for bringing this game to the US. I’m one of the people who imported it, but I’m also one of the people that bought it a second time when Atlus announced they were bringing it over since Sony didn’t want to. So yes, Demon’s Souls is so good that I bought it twice. It controls great, has amazing atmosphere, unique and innovative online, and is one of the most addictive games I’ve played in a very long time. This is an instant classic for any hardcore action RPG fan.
Check out my review here.

Fat Princess
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Beneath the cute art direction there is an immensely fun 32-player competitive online game. Personally I loved the art direction. I mean come on, there are a ton of unlock-able beards. How can you go wrong with that? Besides looking really good on your HD TV, Fat Princess will give you hours of enjoyment. I’m not a huge online gamer, but I immediately found this game fun and accessible. The overhead class-based gameplay is simple enough for anyone to grasp, but there is enough depth to it to keep you coming back. The tactical aspects of controlling points, gathering resources, defending your base, feeding the princess cake, upgrading your hat machines (which determine what class you are), along with having to coordinate a siege on your opponents castle to effectively free the princess and bring her back to your castle gives the game enough variety and challenge to make the game appealing to a number of different players. With the promise of more classes and more maps Fat Princess should continue to grow and remain a bloody good time.

flower
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I’m still unsure how to describe this game, but whatever it is I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is simple, and in that simplicity it is beautiful. Featuring gorgeous and simple graphics, flower is immediately recognizable. You control the wind as you fly through fields and other areas. Picking up petals as you open up flowers. There is a story here, which you may like or hate but that doesn’t change the fact that the game is fun, relaxing, stunning, and looks great in HD. Do yourself a favor and pick up another unique gem only found on the PS Store.

infamous
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During the current glut of open-world games infamous stands out from the crowd with its fluid controls and great story. It manages to avoid repeating too many of its missions and side missions. The controls are great, whether you are climbing a building, shooting lightning, or gliding through the sky to drop down on your enemies. As you struggle with your actions and how your choices effect the game, you are driven forward by an epic branching story. It is one of those games you will replay just to see what happens when you make different decisions.

Killzone 2
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Amazingly, Killzone 2 was able to live up to the hype and exceed it in my opinion. Dark, gritty, intense, and action packed. Killzone 2 is one of the most impressive games I have seen. The graphics are perfectly married with an oppressive art direction and some of the best animation you’ll ever see in a game. You are on Helghan, and you know it. Killzone 2 plays differently than other FPS, as it actually has weight and a realism to it that other games lack. The controls aren’t floaty or gamey. If you are looking for something different than other FPS’s, with a deep online multiplayer then you really need to check out Killzone2.

PixelJunk Shooter
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Proving once again that you can’t go wrong with a PixelJunk game, Q-games sneaked PixelJunk Shooter into my top 10 for 2009 with the mid December release. They prove that simple isn’t always a bad thing. You control a space ship and fly around 2D caverns, rescuing colonist while solving puzzles and shooting a lot of things. Featuring great art direction, a sweet soundtrack, and amazing fluid dynamics. Shooter is an easy to pick up and play game with some depth to it.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
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Uncharted 2 is simply breath taking and jaw dropping. I thought the first game was impressive, but the sequel brings it to a whole new level. The new setting was a great move by Naughty Dog. You will see a bunch of different locations and all of them are amazingly realized. The game still has great controls, platforming, and fun puzzles as well. Uncharted 2 isn’t just a very good game due to its superb technical prowess and smooth gameplay. Much like the first game, the characters and story are done so much better than any other game that you will really be drawn into their world and actually care about them. It does this even better than a lot of movies. Nathan Drake and company are some of the most believable, engaging, and likable characters I’ve ever encountered in any type of media. If you own a PS3 and don’t have this game then I feel bad for you, as you are truly missing out.
Uncharted 2 review coming soon.

Honorable Mentions:

God of War Collection – I must confess that I’ve never finished any of the God of War games before this collection. I’ve played parts of them and watched my brother or friends play parts. At the time these games came out I was pretty much only playing JRPG’s, as that is my favorite genre and there were a ton of them available on the PS2. I’ve always wanted to go back and play the God of War series, and I almost bought the games back in the beginning of the PS3’s life. However I’m so glad I didn’t. These two games are brought back to life with smooth framerates and polished graphics. God of War II in particular looks rather impressive. If you are like me and missed out on really getting into these games when they came out this is a must buy, especially if you are going to get God of War III.

Gravity Crush – Some people may choose this game over PixelJunk Shooter, as they appear to be very similar. They do have similarities, but they play and feel very different. Gravity Crush is gorgeous and has a great retro feel to it. However I found myself drawn to PixelJunk Shooter which which is why Gravity Crush didn’t make the list. Although, I do recommend getting both games.

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger – I am not a huge fighting game fan, but I actually really enjoyed BlazBlue (even if I’m not too good at it). To sum up how much I like this game, it is the first fighting game I’ve purchased since Street Fighter back on the SNES.

3D Dot Game Heroes Gets A Date & A Price

November 17, 2009

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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 Review

October 27, 2009

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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.

Story:
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.

Gameplay:
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Online:
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.

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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.

Conclusion:
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.

SCORE: 10/10

Demon’s Souls Import vs. Killzone 2, A Battle For My Time

October 1, 2009

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.

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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.