Macross 30 is a pretty fun flight action RPG for the PS3. Studio Artdink has produced a number of other Macross games
for the PSP, although this is their first for the larger screen. As I haven't played any of those other games, my
expectations for this one were to pilot Valkyries and blow things up while enjoying some great pop songs. This game
delivers that in spades.
Macross 30 is aimed directly at the franchise's biggest fans -- that's why they brought in characters, mechas and music from all the previous series. The setting, story, and main characters are game-original, so you don't technically need any prior Macross exposure, but you'll miss out on a lot of jokes and references.
Tales of Xillia is a romping fantasty RPG for the PS3 which will appeal to Tales fans (and JRPG fans in general), but
probably won't win over anyone new. There is nothing groundbreaking in any aspect of the game, but it is a solidly built
title that showcases all the standards the genre encompasses. In the end my major issue with the game is a lack of
Character balance: For most of the story, Jude and Milla travel together, and the story moves along at a brisk pace. However, in the areas where Jude and Milla are off doing their own things, almost all the character development happens in Jude's section as Milla likes to run off on her own to handle matters.
This is a review of Professor Layton 6. The game is currently available for the Nintendo 3DS in Japanese.
If you hadn't noticed from my reviews of the previous Layton games, I am a big fan of the franchise. This game was a Day 1 purchase and I had big expectations for it based on all the trailers Level-5 published. Part of me is sad that I've come to the end of Layton's story, but Level-5 handled it well and brought closure to all the major elements introduced in the second trilogy. The ending was deeper (and a bit darker) than I expected, considering the franchise's track record of overly complicated endings based on someone pulling cheap tricks.
NOTE: This is a review of the 3DS game, Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney. The game is currently available in
Layton vs Wright is pretty much exactly what I expected from mixing together the two game franchises. Sometimes you walk around a city and solve puzzles for people. Sometimes you go to a trial and try to point out all the inconsistencies of the witnesses. Sometimes you yell "Puzzle solved!" and sometimes you yell "Objection!" All in all it is a fun game for people who have played and enjoyed both franchises.
I enjoyed every hour I spent playing Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (so far about 60) and plan to continue enjoying it while working through all the post-game and DLC extras. Level 5 and Studio Ghibli have created a fantastical world to explore. Despite playing the DS game and knowing what 2/3rds of the plot would be (and character details which would be considered spoilers) I still found the story delightful and surprising. Sure, the plot is built on a fairly standard set of fantasy/adventurer-story tropes, but it does so in a light-hearted fashion and doesn’t bother with trying to prove itself too hard. There is a lot to see and do in Ni no Kuni which will keep JRPG and Studio Ghibli fans entertained for hours.
Mask of Miracles is the first of the Professor Layton series to be offered on the Nintendo 3DS. The better specs of the
system have lead to numerous improvements not just in the game’s art and sound, but in the way some puzzles are
presented. The added variety to the game help relieve it of being “just another Layton game” and bring new tricks to
the Professor’s repertoire.
While exploration in the DS games were all about tapping the bottom screen to find hint coins, puzzles, or talk to people, Mask of Miracles uses a very different approach to take advantage of the 3D screen on the top. At any given location, you tap a zoom icon to explore the scene, which is presented on the top screen.
For people who like Layton games, Professor Layton and the Last Specter won’t disappoint. After 3 games of puzzle
hunting, you would think it would get old (“I haff tvelve metchsteek”), but the Layton series manages to inject just
enough newness and whimsy to keep fans interested and asking for more. Specter reigns in many of the wackier ideas that
went into Last Time Travel, and the game is better for it. The fresh story arc looks exciting so far, and should keep
fans hooked, especially as the new trilogy includes feature-length movies.
For people who haven’t yet gotten into the Layton franchise but are interested, Specter is not a bad place to start.
Ni no Kuni may be one of the last big Japanese Nintendo DS releases before the launch of the 3DS in spring 2011, and if it is, the system is going out with a bang. Ni no Kuni is really fun to play. Despite the fairly low difficulty, the story and its characters keep you interested, and if you’re bored, you can go off and do other things for a while and then get back to the story. There is a lot of room for game customization, with extensive lists of armor and weapons, and choice of Imagines. Imagines are creatures of Ni no Kuni which you generally meet as monsters on the field, but which you can recruit to your team to fight with you. Each Imagine has its own strengths, weaknesses and abilities, and you can spend plenty of time researching the ones you’d want in the Magic Master.
Having little exposure to the world of Okami outside of its artwork, I came to the DS game with few expectations. In
all, I really enjoyed the game. I wish it was longer, since it felt like the ending was rushed, and some more time to
explore the world would have been welcome. The story is not too interesting on its own, but the rich cast of characters
draws you into the world and brings a lot of depth. The artwork and music help immerse you in this fable-like classical
Japanese world, and are really quite good given the DS limitations.
Okamiden is focused more on puzzle-solving than on fighting, making it more adventure than action. This is great for someone like me who has played all four Professor Layton games and is considering getting a 3DS just to play the fifth.
WEWY is a fun, fast-paced game with a unique setting. It's a refreshing change from your standard fantasy RPG. You don't need to worry about rescuing any princesses or doing battle with evil overloads. You just have to fulfill an increasingly complex set of missions and learn more about who Neku is, and why the heck he is even involved in the Reapers' Game to begin with. There's not a lot of room to explore, so stick with the plot, and enjoy running around Shibuya. And if you're near Tokyu Hands/Shibukyu Heads, go look up Samraat. They have good dosa, and are great for that chicken tikka masala hit.
Addendum 1: Battles
The one thing that will make or break WEWY for players is the battle engine. It's quite frustrating to use at first, and seems incredibly unwieldy.