Well, it's that time again. After a month of preparation, it's time to make the older students at my school take a test. The name is Jitsuyou Eigo Ginou Kentei, but for obvious reasons everyone just uses the short form, Eiken. It is administered by the Society for Testing English Proficiency, so in a lot of English-language resources it's listed as STEP Eiken.
Anyway, the preparations are annoying, as they just tend to suck up precious classroom time. The test was designed for Japanese junior and senior high school students, and the majority of our kids are in elementary. Their command of English is good enough to pass the lower levels with ease, but they're still elementary schoolers with the life experience and the attention span to match. The biggest issues have been just getting them used to the test format and improving their vocabulary to a level on par with the version of the test they're taking.
The test is tomorrow, so this will all be over soon enough. Then we can get back to the real classes.
It's crazy sometimes how far a popular series will travel across the spectrum of Japanese media. The Monster Hunter series has manga and magazines dedicated to it, plus marketing out the wazoo. There are even Hello Kitty versions of the game's feline mascot characters. A while back, a cutesy spin-off game called MonHan Diaries: Ailu Village was produced for the PSP. This branch of the series is a sort of slow-life game more akin to Animal Crossing than the main games. There have been two versions released so far, and now there's this.
This is MonHan Diaries: Ailu Village - The Happy Life, a novelization of the spin-off games. It's being published by Kadokawa Shoten, and will retail for 714 yen.
As a company, tri-Ace is known for its interesting approaches to battle systems, and these latest screens show that Beyond the Labyrinth is no exception to this rule. This 3DS title will feature seamless transitions between exploration and battle, for starters. Character placement and distance have an impact on damage, so the party members will have to move around. Moving more than two squares will end a turn, but moving a sufficient distance from the battle will allow the player to safely escape.
It is apparently necessary to recruit former enemies to help round out the battle party. The main distinguishing feature of an ally is a little icon floating above them, but the article does not mention if it's possible to accidentally hit an ally anyway. The lower screen is used to check status and also to change the current attack target. The game has three attack elements, corresponding to "Rock, Paper, Scissors." While not particularly original in itself, hitting an enemy with its own element (a situation that would normally provide no benefits or detriments) will actually restore some HP to the attacker. There are probably more tricks to the system, but we'll just have to wait for tri-Ace to share more.
It's time to get slimy! The pirates of Slime Mori-Mori 3 (Dragon Quest Heroes 3) have a lot of variety available to them. Here are a few more possible design choices.
And of course there are more monsters to talk about as well. This week, we have the Pillow monsters, killer Scarecrows, and Devil Snows from Dragon Quest IX to deal with. It's nice to see that this game has a much larger enemy roster than the last two.
A while back we talked about Level-5's treatment of the Gundam series. There was mention of a game attached, but no real media on that part of the project. We can tentatively confirm that it is a PSP title, will appear in 2012, and... not much else. Level-5 is being chary with the media until after the big show-and-tell session this weekend. All we've got is this video clip.
At least it has some actual game footage, even if it's short.
Any fans of Compile Heart out there? Anyone? Well, Keiji Inafune seems to be a fan, as he's working with that company to create the latest (and apparently the final) installment of the Gamindustri saga. It's called Attou-teki Yuugi Mugen Souls, or "Overwhelming Game Infinite Souls." The game's site is here, but it is singularly uninformative. There was a really small blurb on it in Famitsu Weekly, but I haven't gotten my scanner software up and running. I'm sure there will be better material coming up soon. The game is due out sometime in March for the PS3.