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JAPANDEMONIUM
 
kannagi no futsuka
Ankeeto
Konnichiwa

Up at the top of the Dengeki main site, there's a special item about the SaGa series. That's nothing new in itself; Square Enix has spent the past year soliciting semi-regular retrospectives for the series from Dengeki's editors. This time around, however, Mr. Kawazu is asking for the fans to chime in with their thoughts. The item in question is not an article; it's a questionnaire (enkeeto in Japanese), which asks the fans what their favorite characters are from the series (human, mutant, robot, monster, or even enemy), which special attacks they love, and what their favorite musical tracks are — and why, if the fan feels like commenting. I couldn't really answer the musical question, since I don't recall most of my favorite tracks' names in Japanese, but I filled out the rest to the best of my ability, often resorting to English to make sure that I absolutely knew what I was writing in there. The final two questions were the important ones, though. "What sort of activity would you like to see in the series for the future (new game, full remake, port, etc.)?" and "Which platforms would you like to see them on?" I clicked "new game" and "full remake" for the first, and "PS3" or "3DS" for the second. I really hope a lot of people thought and answered the same.

On and off over the last few months, I've been working my way through Unchained Blades: EXXIV, the second of its series by Furyu, and I thought I had a pretty good idea of what the studio was capable of — which was why I had sworn never to buy one of their games at full price, or just never buy one (unless the reviews were really that fantastic). So when I saw that Furyu had announced a new project with the fairly generic name of The Legend of Legacy, I was prepared to be underwhelmed. The art did look interesting though...



In fact, I was pretty sure I recognized the artist, much to my surprise. But then again, I've seen other artists in the industry with a similar look to Tomomi Kobayashi. It was enough to pique the interest, so I continued on to Furyu's main site, where a video awaited. I clicked, expecting to see another first-person dungeon explorer. Be sure to watch it through to the end, by the way.

OK, I can honestly say I was not expecting anything like what was presented here. Well, except for the incredibly poor Engrish translation, but that's unfortunately par for the course. Much to my surprise, the credits list at the end did have Tomomi Kobayashi, design illustrator for the entire SaGa series, and she wasn't the only one with some unexpected connections. The game designer, Kyoji Koizumi, was part of the team that made Romancing SaGa 2 & 3 on the SFC, both SaGa Frontier games, and Unlimited Saga. The composer is Masashi Hamauzu, who's done stuff all over the Square Enix library, including the PlayStation-era SaGa games. Of the two ladies listed under background design, Masayo Asano worked on the PS2 remake of Romancing SaGa, as well as Unlimited Saga, Final Fantasy X, and Legend of Mana. The other background designer, Misako Tsutsui, is credited with work on Final Fantasy Tactics and Super Mario RPG. The character designer is Ryo Hirao, who worked on Final Fantasy XII and Brave Fencer Musashi. As for the director, the only mention I could find of him was one of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. Still, that's one impressive list of people, especially for a massive SaGa fanboy such as myself. While I'd like to see some actual combat at some point, I'm already planning on how best to save up for next January when this is supposed to hit the shelves.

Source: Dengeki Online
9/22 ~ 9/28 9/15 ~ 9/21 9/8 ~ 9/14 9/1 ~ 9/7 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
2 * * * New Arrival! Sen no Kiseki II Falcom
3 * * * New Arrival! Sen no Kiseki II Falcom
4 2 3 1 Last seen at 4 Youkai Watch 2 Level-5
8 * * * New Arrival! Dungeon Travelers 2 (Vita edition) Aqua Plus
12 5 6 2 New Arrival! Dragon Quest X Online Square Enix
14 * * * New Arrival! The Awakened Fate Ultimatum Nippon Ichi
20 8 7 3 Last seen at 1 Toukiden: The Age of Demons Extreme Koei-Tecmo
23 12 13 18 Last seen at 11 Youkai Watch Level-5
24 19 11 6 Last seen at 3 Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra-Suplex Hold Atlus
27 13 15 23 Last seen at 18 Taiko no Tatsujin - Don & Katsu's Excellent Adventure Bandai-Namco
30 15 25 Off Last seen at Pokémon X/Y Pokémon Co.
Off-list 16 18 16 Last seen at 8 Toukiden: The Age of Demons Extreme Koei-Tecmo
Off-list 18 17 20 Last seen at 15 Diablo III Reaper of Souls (Ultimate Evil Edition) Square Enix
Off-list 20 19 28 Last seen at 23 Monster Hunter 4 Capcom
Off-list 22 20 13 Last seen at 5 Medabots 8 Rocket Company
Off-list 23 23 17 Last seen at 12 Hyrule Warriors Koei-Tecmo
Off-list Off 14 * New Arrival! Chain Chronicle V Sega
Off-list Off Off 19 Last seen at 7 Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Masou Kijin F - Coffin of the End Bandai-Namco
Off-list Off Off 30 Last seen at 17 Diablo III Reaper of Souls (Ultimate Evil Edition) Square Enix

Square Enix's smartphone RPG spinoff Rise of Mana has had fun with its campaigns, as we've seen before. Unlike the last one, this new round of special content is a bit closer to the game's roots.




Yes, Randi, Prim, and Popoi from Secret of Mana are joining as support NPCs. Whether or not any major enemies from that game (aside from those already inherited by Rise of Mana) will be along for the ride isn't mentioned, but who cares? It's time for some fun with old friends, after all.

Source: Dengeki Online

When I was putting together the October release list (see below), there was one item that I wasn't expecting: Choco-ken no Choko'tto Fushigi na Monogatari - Chocolat-hime to Mahou no Recipe. The first part of the title is a silly little pun, pairing the abbreviated word "chocolate" with choko'tto, which means "rather small." The Choco-ken series is not normally associated with RPGs, being instead a silly little patisserie management sim. The second game in the series on the DS got a European and NA release under the title Cookie Shop. Apparently Nihon Columbia is trying to branch out with this newest title.







So, to the story. All is not right in the land of Chocolatie. While Princess Chocolat is out having a stroll, Queen Vegeel (apparently named after a veggie juice brand) from the Kingdom of Vegetaria invades, wielding a sinister sceptre that turns the townsfolk into statues. When she comes home to this mess, Princess Chocolat knows just what to do. The princess has a magic recipe for the ultimate in confections, the sweetness of which is sure to knock some sense into the queen, but she needs some help getting all the ingredients. She uses a magic spell to call forth a Hero with a capital H from the ether. What she gets are a lot of choco-dogs.







Will the choco-dogs be successful in hitting the queen's sweet tooth for massive damage and defending the land from its veggie invaders? We shall find out on Oct. 9, when this game hits the shelves in Japan.










I've been having a run of good luck when it comes to downloadable games for my 3DS, so when another one popped up on Famitsu with a release date of Oct. 8, I was definitely interested. Faerune is a retro-styled action RPG with some obvious love for the Zelda franchise mixed in there. Have a look:

Among other things, Faerune's being touted as a "puzzle-solving" action RPG with a control scheme so simple that it's even possible to do it one-handed. Beating enemies is as straightforward as running right into them, with lower level enemies dying immediately (for no XP), same-leveled enemies maybe doing damage before handing over experience points, and higher level enemies just slaughtering the hero.







The story itself is about as basic as one would expect, with the chosen hero having to sally forth into the wide, monster-infested world in order to locate the lost statues of the three great spirits. The Famitsu article also points out how various tools might be useful for removing trees or rocks in order to access more of the game world. Evidently there's a lot of exploration to do.

At 300 yen, it's definitely a temptation. I actually have about 400 yen left over in my 3DS account right now. Hmm... get one of the optional bosses in Metal Max 4, or this.... Decisions, decisions.

Source: Famitsu Online
Title Publisher Release Date Platform
Omega Quintet Compile Heart 10.2.14
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix Square Enix 10.2.14
Ar no Surge PLUS Gust 10.2.14
Ciel no Surge Offline Gust 10.2.14
Kinki no Magna Marvelous 10.2.14
Tales of Xillia (PS3 the Best) Bandai-Namco 10.9.14
Tales of Xillia 2 (PS3 the Best) Bandai-Namco 10.9.14
Tales of Graces F (PS3 the Best) Bandai-Namco 10.9.14
Tales of Vesperia (PS3 the Best) Bandai-Namco 10.9.14
Choco-ken no Choko'tto Fushigi na Monogatari - Princess Chocolat and the Magic Recipe Nihon Columbia 10.9.14
Monster Hunter 4G Capcom 10.11.14
Super Hero Generation Bandai-Namco 10.23.14
Tales of the World: Reve Unitia Bandai-Namco 10.23.14
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Take-Two Interactive Japan 10.30.14
Source: Dengeki Online

This last item is something I actually heard about while at TGS, but didn't actually see. It had a two-page spread inside that week's edition of Famitsu as well as a related game actually demoing at the show (and darnit, I forgot to write an impression of that one...). The title for today is Legend of Heroes: Akatsuki no Kiseki. Akatsuki is the Japanese word for "dawn," but how that relates to the story is anyone's guess. These are the main characters, though.



On the left is Nacht Vise, a young man of no particular nationality or known place of origin, who has come to the Crossbell State to become a freelancer — at least, that's how I'm choosing to translate yuugekishi, which could possibly mean "fights for enjoyment" instead. Whatever the actual meaning, it looks like he's going to start with odd-job work. While on his way to sign up, he runs into the girl on the right, Kloe Barnett, who has come from the neighboring Liberl Kingdom to become a freelancer so she could work against the strange things she sees happening in her homeland. In fact, she felt so strongly about it that she dropped out of the Royal Academy against her parents' wishes and ran off in order to do so. As described by Falcom's own press release, they're an odd couple forced to work together against unspecified problems that will take them from the city of Crossbell, across the kingdom of Liberl, and even into the neighboring duchy of Remiferia, which apparently has rarely been more than a name on the map for most of the Kiseki series.

There are three other characters named in the magazine article. Ronald Griffin, a detective of Crossbell, and his operations officer Gillian Sky are apparently working with the freelancer association in order to pursue an investigation. The third introduced character is Leev (or whatever the actual spelling is...), who is the young angel-faced, devil-hearted CEO of the Elfentech Company. She believes in cold, hard cash over everything else, and it's not quite clear what side she'll take on the inevitable plot divide.

Akatsuki no Kiseki, unlike the last half dozen games of the series, will not be appearing on a console any time soon. It's still set for a 2015 release, but only for the PC. In fact, it's generally being described as an online game, despite a complete lack of gameplay screens to support that. We shall have to see just what is going on with this title, if and when Falcom deigns to release more info.

Source: 4Gamer

Astoundingly, I put this entire column together in one afternoon, and I hadn't heard of most of these titles until right then, either. Maybe the Japanese RPG news is starting to pick up again? One can hope.

And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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