shiwasu no muika

Two weeks ago, the Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire remakes hit the shelves, and there was much rejoicing. Three days later, it seemed like even the land itself was getting in on the act. The Hoenn region, where the game takes place, is based on the island of Kyushu (where I live). The ever-smoking Mt. Chimney of the game is a direct cognate of Mt. Aso, the multi-peaked volcanic crater that lies forty-five kilometers from my apartment. And on November 26th, Mt. Aso decided that it was time to wake up and stretch a little.

Thankfully, it didn't do much more than that. The big viewing areas around the caldera are still closed to the public for now, but flights from Aso-Kumamoto Airport are no longer canceled. The ash from Naka-dake (lit. "central peak") was a problem for a few days last week, mainly because I have to hang my laundry outside. Mt. Aso is many millennia removed from the days when it blasted half of the island asunder, though its enormous caldera still serves as testament to its destructive credentials.

If there's one game that I am super-excited about at the moment, it's Furyu's Legend of Legacy. In fact, it was my number one choice for our "Most Wanted of 2015" feature. I never thought I'd ever be this interested in a title from that studio, even with the pedigree we discussed a few columns back, but then I read the latest details in Famitsu. To wit, the battle system for this game includes the following features:

  1. Characters can equip anything.
  2. Equipped items (and their use in combat) determines stat increases after battle.
  3. The player can switch between different attack formations, which in turn affects the characters' roles in battle
  4. Techniques are learned in mid-battle, possibly heralded by an aura of glowing light.
  5. Lower-tier attaks can lead to learning higher-tier attacks at varying rates of success.

Add all this up, and what do you get? Fans of a certain series should know. All of these features have appeared in one or more games of the SaGa series. The game even resembles a combination of the Super Famicom games and DS remakes in action. Here's a video to help us get reacquainted with the main cast and to see a lot more of the fighting side of things.

So let's see who we're working with in this game. Meurs (age 27), is a warrior who wields the power of the spirits (a major plot element in this game). He's not too shabby with that sword, either. Bianca (age unknown) is the game's semi-obligatory case of plot-induced amnesia. Liber (age 18) is the only definite teenager in the cast, and has come to the isle of Avalon in search of treasure. Garnet (age 20) is a young knight of the Church of Emilia who has followed a promise all the way to the mysterious island. Owen (age 36) is a bounty hunter who claims to be some sort of nobility, but no one's really sure where he's from. Eloise (age 24) is a curvy alchemist on a quest to perfect her potion of eternal youth and beauty. Finally, Filmia (age uncalculated) is the prince of the long-lost Frog Kingdom of Avalon. Apparently he's been asleep for an age or two.

Legend of Legacy is still due for release on January 22nd, and I have a pre-order slip in my wallet right now.

Source: Famitsu Online
11/24 ~ 11/30 11/17 ~ 11/23 11/10 ~ 11/16 11/3 ~ 11/9 10/27 ~ 11/2 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 1 * * * New Arrival! Pokémon Alpha Sapphire / Omega Ruby The Pokémon Co.
2 * * * * New Arrival! Phantasy Star Nova Sega
4 * * * * New Arrival! Etrian Odyssey Untold 2: The Knight of Fafnir Atlus
6 5 9 2 2 Last seen at 8 Youkai Watch 2 Level-5
7 4 6 1 1 Last seen at 1 Monster Hunter 4G Capcom
8 * * * * New Arrival! Dragon Age: Inquisition Electronic Arts Japan
14 * * * * New Arrival! Dragon Age: Inquisition Electronic Arts Japan
22 * * * * New Arrival! Hero Bank 2 Sega
Off-list 23 21 7 9 Last seen at 5 Tales of the World: Reve Unitia Bandai-Namco
Off-list 27 23 10 14 Last seen at 12 Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Square Enix
Off-list Off 24 15 22 Last seen at 15 Dragon Quest X Online Square Enix
Off-list Off 25 21 27 Last seen at 25 Taiko no Tatsujin: Don & Katsu's Excellent Adventure Bandai-Namco
Off-list Off Off 12 6 New Arrival! Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel 2K
Off-list Off Off 13 16 Last seen at 11 Chaos Rings III: Prequel Trilogy Square Enix
Off-list Off Off 24 17 Last seen at 9 Super Hero Generation Bandai-Namco
Off-list Off Off 26 29 Last seen at 26 Youkai Watch Level-5
Off-list Off Off Off 19 Last seen at 10 Super Hero Generation Bandai-Namco
Off-list Off Off Off 21 New Arrival! Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel 2K

Want something odd to play? Last month I came across an item on 4Gamer called Slime no Yabou (Ambition of the Slimes), a tactical RPG for iOS and Android that takes some of the traditional RPG elements in a strange direction. The game centers on a band of slimes, those pathetic little excuses for monsters that exist largely to bankroll an aspiring hero's rise to power and glory. Well, it's their turn now, and they're mad as dreck. While they're every bit as weak as one might expect, they've picked up one weird trick — they can shove themselves down a human's throat and then ride the meatsack around for the rest of the battle.

One last oddity is that this game is actually available on American app stores, but only in Japanese. Searching around, I found a different Japanese stuff site that has a good English guide to the game already written up, so if you're interested in trying this one, you will have some support.

I can only hope that Altair Works decides to put out a 3DS downloadable version of this sometime. It looks fun.

Source: 4Gamer; Altair Works

Compile Heart is still trundling along, remaking its PS3 library for the Vita (and generally improving the games in the process). This month sees the release of Hyperdimension Neptunia RE;Birth 3 V Century, a hopeless mess of a name that combines the remake series moniker (complete with punctuation error) with the original game's V-for-Victory and adds on a pointless noun at the end for good measure. In any case, yes, this is a remake of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, the slightly retro-themed third entry of the series that had the titular heroine sent to a parallel universe where the console wars were still set in the 1980s, and all the villains were based around in-jokes and actual legislation from that time period.

Source: Dengeki Online

In this week's Famitsu Weekly, the magazine celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the PlayStation. As part of this, the Famitsu website did a survey of everyone's favorite titles from the four consoles and two portable gaming systems to bear the PS logo. Here are the results of this completely non-scientific (and almost certain to cause some arguments) poll.

# Title Publisher Release Date Platform
1 Final Fantasy VII Square 1.31.97
2 Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G Capcom 3.27.08
3 Final Fantasy X Square 7.19.01
4 Final Fantasy XIII Square Enix 12.17.09
5 Monster Hunter Portable 3rd Capcom 12.1.10
7 Persona 4: The Golden Atlus 6.14.2012
8 Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden Enix 8.26.2000
9 Monster Hunter Portable Capcom 12.1.05
11 Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King Square Enix 11.27.2004
13 Demon's Souls From Software / SCE 2.5.09
16 Dark Souls From Software 9.22.11
19 Final Fantasy IX Square 7.7.00
19 Xenogears Square 2.11.98
21 Kingdom Hearts Square 3.28.02
22 Popolocrois Monogatari SCE Japan 7.12.96
23 Final Fantasy VIII Square 2.11.99
26 God Eater 2 Bandai-Namco 11.14.13
27 Freedom Wars SCE Japan 10.28.14
29 Arc the Lad SCE Japan 6.30.95
31 Sen no Kiseki Falcom 9.26.13
31 Persona 4 Atlus 7.10.08
34 Monster Hunter Portable 2nd Capcom 2.22.07
34 Phantasy Star Online 2 Sega 2.28.13
37 Wild ARMs SCE Japan 12.20.96
37 Tales of Destiny Namco 9.30.98
39 Valkyrie Profile Enix 12.22.99
41 Yakuza Sega 12.8.05
44 Wild ARMs 2nd Ignition SCE Japan 9.2.99
44 Chrono Cross Square 8.15.00
47 Legend of Mana Square 7.15.99
47 Final Fantasy Tactics Square 6.20.97
47 Destiny SCE Japan 9.11.14

There are a few things to note. First, the fairly low numbers of a Famitsu online poll have led to a few ties, especially farther down the list:

  1. Dragon Quest VIII is tied with Ridge Racer.
  2. Final Fantasy IX and Xenogears are tied.
  3. Final Fantasy VIII is tied with Metal Gear Solid V.
  4. Freedom Wars is tied with the first Danganronpa game.
  5. Sen no Kiseki and Persona 4 are in a three-way tie with Dokodemo Issho.
  6. Monster Hunter Portable 2nd and Phantasy Star Online 2 are in a three-way tie with Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker.
  7. Wild ARMs and Tales of Destiny are tied.
  8. Yakuza is tied with (appropriately enough) Grand Theft Auto V.
  9. Wild ARMs 2nd Ignition and Chrono Cross are in a confusing three-way with Hatsune Miku: Project Diva.
  10. The very bottom of this Top 50 list is a four-way tie for 47th place, including Legend of Mana, Final Fantasy Tactics, Destiny, and Tekken. The magazine commentary notes that there must be a whole lot of Li'l Cactus fans out there — or at least thirty-eight, since that was the number needed to tie.
  11. Finally, in the "Honorable Mentions" section, Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon came in at #102.
Source: Famitsu Weekly

At the start of last month, Nintendo had another one of its big online presentations. While Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. and the remake of Majora's Mask rightly took a lot of the attention, there was another interesting item of note on the Japanese side of things.

Yes, Gust is doing a remake of Atelier Rorona for the 3DS, featuring a full graphical makeover into chibi-style for the characters. Just what else is different remains to be seen, but hopefully all the technical improvements from the New Rorona remake will carry over into this one.

There's been no word as to a release date, at least not beyond the vague "2015" of the Direct announcement, and there haven't been any other screenshots to look at either. Expect that to change in the coming months.

Source: 4Gamer
Title Publisher Release Date Platform
Shining Resonance Sega 12.11.14
Yakuza 1 & 2 HD (PS3 the Best) Sega 12.11.14
Yakuza 5 (PS3 the Best) Sega 12.11.14
Soul Sacrifice Delta (PS Vita the Best) SCE 12.11.14
Youkai Watch 2 - Shin Uchi Level-5 12.13.14
Hyperdimension Neptune Re;Birth 3 V Century Compile Heart 12.18.14
Final Fantasy Explorers Square Enix 12.18.14
Shadow of Mordor Warner Entertainment Japan 12.25.14
Source: Dengeki Online

Well, this is officially the last column I will type up on my old computer. It had a fair run, but it's been showing its age for the past year or more. The wireless card self-destructed in September of 2013, the battery's got a life of about twenty minutes without the plug in, the N, R, and Q buttons sometimes forget to work, and the left-click button on the touch pad clicked its last click two weeks ago. My lovely, wonderful, amazing, loving, beautiful wife decided to buy me a new laptop for my combined Christmas and birthday present, and so I am moving on to my first experience with Windows 8 — whining, complaining, but resigned, because the only Windows 7 machine in the shop was more than twice the price.

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

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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