Obviously, the past two weeks have been hectic here in Japan. While I can't boast of having survived anything worse than a Magnitude 3.5 shake this week, the gaming news industry pretty much took the week off last week, at least when it came to RPG news. This week, they're making up for that big time. This column turned out to be a lot longer than I'd expected it to be.
I've been seeing promo videos for Yakuza: Of The End in stores for a few weeks now, and I must say that it looks like a hoot. How best to describe it? It's like the dev team at Sega got together one weekend for a vodka and Red Bull fueled Resident Evil marathon, and somewhere around the fifth game one of them said, "Hey, we could do better than this." That's the vibe I get off it, that it's not something to be taken seriously as a part of its own series, but just for giggles. I mean, a gatling gun arm? Really?
Well, back to the topic at hand, the Dragon of Dojima is promoting good grooming practices in the most recent Famitsu. Gotta keep that chin heroically clean shaven, right?
If there's one thing I don't like doing, it's announcing a game without visual evidence to back it up. At the start of the week, there were three such titles whose existence had been leaked to the gaming media, but which had no real evidence to prove it. Saying that it'll be in the next Famitsu just won't cut it. I'd rather wait till I have the next issue in hand. As it turns out, one of the games I'm talking about just had a handful of screens posted on our site, so I'll get to that one in a bit. But first...
It's time to talk slimy. Dragon Quest's most adorable spin-off, the Slime Mori-Mori Dragon Quest series is getting a new title. Folks overseas might know the second game in the series, Rocket Slime. This new game may or may not have tanks in it as well -- we simply haven't seen anything to prove the matter either way. From the title, we do know at least one thing that it will have. The full title, Slime Mori-Mori Dragon Quest: Kaizoku to Shippo-dan, translates best as "Slime Quest - Of Pirates and Plob". Everybody's favorite blue squishy hero is taking things to the high seas, it seems.
Another Queen's Gate update, another cameo character. That seems to be the way things go with this title. Last time we looked, Bandai-Namco teased us with a mystery character whom they refused to identify. This time, we have both that character and another cameo revealed.
As predicted in the comments section, the mystery character turns out to be Wonder Momo, a self-styled warrior of love whose main claim to fame seems to be unintended panty shots. Originally a heroine for the arcades and TurboGrafix-16, she's shown up in lots of Namco titles since then. She's also slated to appear as a guest in the latest Power-Pro baseball title later this year. Accompanying her in cameo-dom is Mina Majikina, from Samurai Shodown V.
One last thing to mention about Queen's Gate today is the EGK system. That stands for EkishouGoshinoKisu, or "Kisses cross the LCD." The player uses the EGK system to initiate a night time conversation event with the character of his choice, putting himself into her dreams. If he plays his cards right, he gets a kiss out of it. I only wish I were making this up.
You mentioned in the forums possibly sharing some DS2 stuff. I've already posted some screens and art (which I thought Quin could use and didn't), so feel free to steal it for JP.
Also, Atelier Meruru. Please talk about it this week! I wanna hear your excitement!
Well I've got Devil Summoner 2 coming up soon enough. Let's talk atelier!
The heroine of the day is, obviously, Meruru. If you think that's hard to say, her full name is Merururinsu Rehde Arlz (spelling not confirmed), which is something of mouthful even by series standards. She's also the second princess to make an appearance as a series heroine (after Lisette Lander). Her kingdom, Arlz, is a little backwater located northwest of Arland. Hoping to improve his land's status, the king sends to his old friend Gio of Arland asking for help. The response comes in the form of Totori, heroine of the previous game in the series (which I really should get around to playing sometime...). I'm not quite sure just how Meruru and Totori meet, but one of the screenshots shows Mel (as I'm calling her from now on) running out the castle gates shouting "Alright! Escape!" or something to that effect.
Eventually the third heroine of the PS3 Atelier series, Rorona, makes an appearance, but something odd seems to have happened in transit. While Rorona should be about 24 years old, she now looks like she's 8. Dengeki has nothing to really say about this, other than to wonder just what could have happened. There's story involved, for sure.
Anyway, let's see what Arlz has to offer.
Otherwise, Atelier Meruru looks to play like its predecessors in the PS3 series. If you've played Rorona, then you'll have a pretty good idea of what this game is like. I'll end this with a short selection of screenshots. We have more on the game page.
A little while back, I found a new title by Irem Software: Doki-doki Suikoden. It didn't look like something I could use, but it had cute girls so I read through the article anyway. Most of it looked like this:
It looks like a typical meet-girls adventure title, but then I got to the end of the article and found something weirder. Namely, I found the cosplay cage match competition that makes up the other half of the game.
The player has to collect a stable of cosplay combat cuties to customize (yay, alliteration!) with various outfits, each with its own stats and potential skills. In combat, one key to winning is literally ripping off parts of an opponent's costume to reduce her power.
Whether or not this might qualify as something we could normally cover on the site, I'd still mention this one as a guilty pleasure and something which could only have come from Japan. It arrives on the PSP next month.
Tokyo can't seem to get a break these days. Only last year it looked like the entire city was going to be destroyed in just seven days, but for the daring heroics of a band of teenagers. Pretty soon it's all going to happen again. So why Tokyo? Why not Osaka? Or Fukuoka? Or New York, for that matter? You'd have to ask the Septentrion, a group of mysterious entities who have purportedly come to save the souls of the hapless Capital of the Rising Sun in Atlus' upcoming Devil Survivor 2. They each arrive, one a day, over the course of an increasingly insane week. This being MegaTen, it's safe to assume that even if they are angelic, they're not likely to play nice.
What does Septentrion mean? While it's not a common word in English, septentrional in its various spellings is often used in the Romance languages to mean "of the north" (thank you, Jules Verne, for making me learn this word in French!). Its root is sept-, or the number seven, which refers to the seven main stars of Ursa Major. Appropriately, the entity shown above is named Alioth, which is also known as the Fifth Star of the Northern Dipper by the Japanese. According to Famitsu, this one appears on Thursday, the fifth day of the week. We can assume that the other members of the Septentrion are named Alkaid, Mizar (with maybe an Alcor sidekick), Megrez, Phecda, Merak, and Dubhe (this one is actually shown in the screenshots below).
Here are a few of the heroes. Famitsu implies that there may be ten more characters to be found. Otherwise, the flow of the game seems to be largely similar to the first Devil Survivor. There's tactical combat, summoned demons, bonus actions for exploiting weakpoints, and an auction where one can bid for rarer or stronger beasties.
Last night, I thought I'd had everything done for this column. Then I checked Dengeki, and something jumped out at me. This thing:
Falcom's at it again. This time, it's Legend of Heroes - Ao no kiseki, or "Wagontrails in the Blue." Note that the symbol used for "blue" in the title is not the normal one used. It's a symbol called heki, which is a really obscure word for a range of blue-green shades associated with the sea. While we don't have any screens for it yet, we do have a video, courtesy of Nihon Falcom. Ao no kiseki is a direct sequel to Zero no kiseki, and is expected in stores on September 29th of this year.
Next week is going to be a busy one for me. I'll be in Nagasaki for three days, then come back just in time to help prepare for my school's tenth anniversary. I really won't have much time on the computer, so I'm saying this right now. I will not be able to put up a column next week. Anyone who's looking at the calendar and noticing next Friday's date should be breathing a sigh of relief. You won't be seeing anything from me on the 1st, for once.