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In recent years, Falcom has become something of a Ys and Kiseki (known as Trails in the west) machine. As a recent fan of the developer’s games, I don’t particularly mind, especially considering the overall strong quality of their titles. That said, I recognize that there are old school fans who have been patiently waiting their turn for revivals of their favorite Falcom franchises. Xanadu is one such series.

Let me make this clear for the records: Tokyo Xanadu is a lot of things, but it is nothing like the old Xanadu games. It’s an action RPG, but outside of that very general similarity, they are almost nothing alike. 

With that out of the way: Tokyo Xanadu combines the storytelling style of Falcom’s Kiseki games with high speed action RPG gameplay, but does this mix of styles work?

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Hi playuhs! I wrote up a preview piece for Bandai Namco/Experience’s weird Vita dungeon RPG, Ray Gigant, over on G4@Syfygames. It’s an odd game and I’m still not sure whether I like it or hate it, but I wrote words on it.

Even after pouring hours into it, I’m still not entirely sure where I stand on Ray Gigant. It’s certainly a very different game when compared to Experience’s previous titles, but I don’t know if that’s really a good thing. For every refreshing twist on the genre, something about the whole package feels strangely empty. None the less, I find myself pressed to dig further if only to just see whether it sticks the landing or not. If nothing else, I hope that this isn’t the last time Experience experiments with their RPG formula.

If you’re interested in the game, I highly recommend giving the full piece a look.

The following is the brief creator interview that conducted with Drakengard/Nier creator, Yoko Taro, in Dengeki PlayStation. If the answers seem bizarre and weird, that’s because they are. He’s a weird, amazing man.

Question 1: If you could participate as a staff member on any company’s game, what game would it be?

Yoko Taro: None of them. I know how low my own capabilities are, so I wouldn’t want to ruin my favourite game with them. I also really don’t want to participate in any games that are as bad as I am.

Question 2: Good luck! You can do it!

Yoko Taro: Thank you. I’ll let them know you said that. 

Question 3: I read your twitter a lot, and I noticed that you really like Tenka Ippin’s ramen and steak. If you had to erase one of these from the world, which would it be? By the way, when I say erase, I mean that all memories of them ever existing would be gone from you and everyone else in the world.

Yoko Taro: If I’m able to make that decision, that means I have time between hearing the problem and having to give an answer. According to your question, that amount of time hasn’t been determined. In that case, I’d probably stretch out my answer for as long as possible, “hmmmmm, I wonder what I should doooo. Their ramen is good, but so is their steak… Oh, wait, today I think I want to watch Mad Max!”

Question 4: I like Mr. Yoko a lot! The characters that appear in your game are generally very abnormal/different compared to other games, right? I was wondering if this was something influenced by your stance against discrimination? In Nier, you even had a party member who was a sexual minority. I’ve always wondered about this.

Yoko Taro: Thank you for liking me so much. But, I don’t believe I’m some sort of example of someone anti-discrimination. In the past and up until this point of my life, I’m guilty of bullying, hating others. I’m aware that I’ve done these things. Maybe it’s that sense of resignation that’s had an effect on the characters I’ve made.

Question 5: What is it about your games that makes you personally think, “Man, my games are different from all the others?”

Yoko Taro: Outside of the naming sense, I don’t think they’re all that different from other games.

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There’s an unbelievable quality about the fact that it’s 2015 and we’re talking about Utawarerumono again. 

First released in 2002, the original Utawarerumono was a cross between a visual novel and an SRPG for the PC, developed by Leaf, the studio under Aquaplus. It turned out to be quite the success, and in 2006 Utawarerumono was re-released for the PlayStation 2, with a brand new combat system designed by Sting, and full voice acting. This version would go on to sell over 100,000 copies, riding off the popularity of the anime adaptation airing around that same time. In 2009, the game would get ported to the PSP, and that was the last we heard from the franchise.

Until now.

Some thirteen years removed from the original release, and here we are talking about a sequel. 

As it turns out, it’s pretty rad.

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Do you like dancing?

I love dancing. Dancing is cool.

Apparently the cast of Persona 4 also enjoys dancing. As it turns out, they do it pretty damn well too.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a rhythm game developed by Atlus, and has the honor of canonically taking place the furthest on the P4 timeline.

If this is the last game we get featuring the P4 crew, I can think of a host of much worse ways they could close out this series. Let’s bust a groove.

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Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

After some minor delays, welcome one and all, to Part Six of the Fire Emblem Fates Fan Survey Translation. This will be the final page of the Famitsu feature, so hold on to your butts.

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Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Welcome to Part Four of the Famitsu Fire Emblem Fates Fan Survey Translation. This time we’ll be taking a look at the results for what people thought of the game’s marriage system, as well as some sequences that left an impression on players.

There will be minor spoilers here for all three games, but nothing super specific. Just keep that in mind.

Let’s get the ball rolling!

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Part One.

Welcome to Part Two of the Fire Emblem Fates Fan Survey Translation. This time we’ll be exploring some of the actual poll results

Before we get started it’s important to note (and Famitsu goes out of its way to mention this), that approximately the same number of men and women responded to these questions. In fact, that so many women participated is part of what makes the game so interesting, according to the magazine. As such, the poll results are not divided between men and women, and no effort is made to see where those splits were, save for a few written comments later on.

With that out of the way, let’s rock!

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This week’s issue of the Japanese gaming rag, Famitsu, hosted an eight page feature on Fire Emblem Fates. They polled fans on their opinion regarding multiple aspects of the game, and then presented the results here. There’s a lot of information here that could be interesting to English-speaking Fire Emblem fans, but keep in mind that the sample size was 2,386 people. This is hardly conclusive, but I still find it to be a fascinating read.

I will be splitting these posts up into a total of four (including this one). Each post will cover two out of the eight pages of the feature, that way things won’t get super cluttered.

On with the show!

The first two pages of the feature just serve as an introduction to the results on the other pages, though Famitsu itself points out three reasons why they think Fire Emblem If is such an attractive package..

  • It’s accessible to both casual and hardcore fans. Famitsu goes on to expand that the inclusion of both the Casual and Phoenix modes helps to alleviate the fear that many feel when they hear “Fire Emblem.” In Japan, the series has a reputation for its high level of difficulty and permadeath. Additionally, the fact that weapons no longer have a use limit, the first time since Fire Emblem Gaiden apparently, makes it easier to approach. That being said, Conquest still has plenty of challenge, so it’s not as though older fans have been abandoned.
  • The colorful cast of characters. This goes without saying, but both sides of the war (and subsequently both versions of the game) feature unique casts of characters that are deeply tied to the country they reside in. The peace loving Byakuya and the dark nation of Anya. They’re both attractive in their own ways. Famitsu then goes on to mention the marriage system, the relationship system, etc. You guys know the drill.
  • Gameplay depth. This one is kinda “duh,” but here it is anyway. Being able to change classes after a point, reverting back, picking skills, etc. You get as much out of these games as you’re willing to put in.

The following poll results are all relevant to these three points on some level or another, so it was important that we started off with this as a base.

Onward to part two!

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Mamoru Hosoda has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of Japanese film. Responsible for films like Digimon Adventure: Our War Game and One Piece Movie: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island, mainstream cinema goers didn’t really get to know him until The Girl Who Leapt Through Time debuted. It didn’t take long for critics to cry out that he was the next Hayao Miyazaki, something that seemed to happen every time a new, fresh director emerged from the shadows. As was the case with most of those other directors, assigning Hosoda the label of “next Miyazaki” was ultimately a disservice to both him and the Studio Ghibli powerhouse.

The last two Hosoda films, Summer Wars and The Wolf Children, were both stories about the power of family. The former took a look at the bigger picture of what a family is, while the latter was a more personal story about a single mother’s experience raising two children.

Mamoru Hosoda’s latest, The Boy and the Beast, is yet another tale about family, and in some ways is interesting as a companion piece to The Wolf Children, but it’s also more than just that. It’s a martial arts film. It’s a coming of age story. It’s a tale about coming to terms with the people around you.

It also happens to be a damn fine film.

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