Review — Eternal Sonata

I dislike bullet point reviews almost as much as I dislike people who smile too much and eat pasta salad. And yet, there are so many different aspects of Eternal Sonata that bear commenting on that I find myself gravitating towards the wretched format. So, instead of cleverly disguising a bullet point review with the absence of bullets, let me simply reassure myself that “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me” and dive into the shallow depths of sound bite commentary.

Quick review: Eternal Sonata is a truly beautiful but ultimately flawed game that delivers barely enough substance to warrant my recommendation.

If only all mothers of 8 year old girls were 16.

ES got largely positive reviews both on major US review sites and in the international community. →  Read the rest

Dragon Quest IX no longer has internet multiplayer

In yet another disappointment to fans, it has been announced recently that Dragon Quest IX will not have internet multiplayer as originally advertised. This comes after the clarification of the battle system that revealed it was the age-old Dragon Quest system with few changes.

The beanbag chair that stares back at you.

The game will still have wireless local multiplayer, for what it’s worth. This is particularly disappointing to me. Since I’m graduating from college soon, DSes will no longer be a common sight to me, and chances of finding people to play with might be a bit slim. Internet multiplayer would be much nicer, particularly if I could play with friends in other places. Even if I know Jay would probably just grief me every chance he gets.

Hopefully, though, this is the last negative announcement as regards Dragon Quest IX. →  Read the rest

Dragon Quest IX: The more things change, the more they stay the same

Back when it was first announced for the DS, Dragon Quest IX looked like it would be completely different from its predecessors. Not only would the game be on a portable system, it looked like it would be multiplayer and in a real-time, if not an action-RPG, system. After Dragon Quest VIII’s revelations (huge graphical upgrades and a rename in the US to follow the Japanese series name), it looked like the ninth entry would bring even more changes to a series that is notorious for having old school gameplay and feel. Was Square Enix finally going to change the main system of the grandfather of RPGs?

The cover for the original Dragon Quest.

More recently, the news has trickled in that, yes, the game would be multiplayer, but it would have the same turn-based battle system. →  Read the rest

Possible Megaton – Dragon Quest IX Exclusive to Nintendo DS

In a surprising move, Square-Enix has announced that the next installment to the uber-popular RPG series, Dragon Quest IX, will be made exclusively for the Nintendo DS. Most people assumed that it was destined for either PS2 or PS3, but with the Nintendo DS’s soaring popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun, Squenix saw gold in them thar dual-screened hills.

Level 5, which developed last year’s enjoyable Dragon Quest VIII, will be reprising their role as developer for the Nintendo DS outing, with close supervision from Squenix. The full name is Dragon Quest IX: Defender of the Starry Sky, and is looking at a mid-2007 release date.

Even though the DS has been immensely successful without the help of the Dragon Quest series, this move will easily make the DS the system of choice in Japan for years to come. →  Read the rest

Series Retrospective: Wild Arms

As far as RPG series go, one of the smaller ones you don’t hear too much about is Wild Arms. They are the only RPGs I’ve heard of that try to tackle the Wild West as an overall theme, and tend to blend in fantasy and science fiction elements to keep the game interesting for more traditional RPG fans.

Although the plot and setting differ significantly between any two members of the series (with one exception), there are some trends, such as the Guardians, which are summons characters can equip and use. All of the games also have the blessing of Michiko Naruke’s composition talents. Although she was not able to do the full composition for 4, all of the games have excellent music which adds greatly to the atmosphere – in fact, it was hearing the music that brought me to revisit the first and go on to try the rest of the series. →  Read the rest

A brief survey of localiztions

Ever since the first text-based game came from Japan to American shores, those playing have wondered, “What did the original text say?”

…Well, I have, at least since I was old enough to tell the difference between “A winner is you” and real English. Hearing about and playing odd translations of games is a bit of a hobby of mine.

Thankfully, translations in general are getting much better. Voice acting is much, much better than it has been in the past, although it can still use some work. Let’s look at some localizations past and present as evidence.

Good Localizations

These games leave you with a good feel for spirit of the game. They rarely if ever have grammatical problems, and if there is any voice acting it is well-produced. The story has a feel that is consistent throughout the game. →  Read the rest

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 5.19.06

Get it? It’s hacked? With an axe?

Xbox 360 hacked to play pirated games, err backups
That didn’t take too long, but it won’t work for everyone and if you get caught Bill Gates will devour your soul.

Analysts worry PS3 price will hurt the game industry
While somewhat obvious, it’s good to see analysts voicing thoughts that not everyone has had. The reasoning behind the suspicion Sony is hurting the industry is such a high price point for the PS3 will prevent growth. Installing new users each successive generation is very important if game development costs are going to continue to grow and a $500 price tag prevents this. When thought of in terms of accessibility versus cost and hardware versus software, the gap between Sony and Nintendo seems even larger. →  Read the rest