Thursday, 20 December 2007

The Hidden Review 2007

Also in keeping with Christmas tradition, here's the best and worst of 2007:

Best overall game - Okami

This game which is compared to many of the Zelda games is just sublime. The graphics and the music go a long way into making this a complete package and the gameplay elements fit together to create a 40 hour adventure that I personally will never forget. The fact that it's coming to the Nintendo Wii ensures that it will have another crack at the market. I just hope it isn't ruined because this game doesn't deserve a bad port with Wii controls added on just because we all want it.

Best PS2 game - Okami

Pest PSP game - Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

A game of Bejeweled mixed with RPG elements. The concept sounds crazy but the game was as addictive and many hours can be lost to just walking the map. An essential buy for handheld owners.

Best DS game - More Brain Training

I'll admit that I haven't had much of a chance to use my new DS but this is the big highlight of the console. I enjoyed it immensely and played it religiously. 42 All Time Classics deserved to win this but it was out in 2006 and doesn't qualify...

Best Wii game - Wii Sports

As with the DS, I haven't had much of a chance to play the Wii either but as with Brain Training, I also played Wii Sports religiously. It probably shouldn't win as it was out last year but it's tricky to judge when it is released so close to Christmas!

Biggest Disappointment - Final Fantasy XII

The story was poor and the battling was plain boring. Maybe I expected too much of this game. I had every right to be as it's been out for so long in the US. However, that doesn't excuse the lack of fun I had playing this game.

PSP in the future - Patapon
DS in the future - The World Ends With You
PS2 in the future - Odin Sphere
PS3 in the future - Little Big Planet
Wii in the future - Zack & Wiki
360 in the future - Infinite Undiscovery

That's the review complete. Unless some ground breaking news comes up, this is the last post of 2007 (minus the weekly review). See you in 2008!

Have a great Christmas and a happy new year!

HiddenAway

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The hidden game guide 2008

It's that time of year. Stockings are filled, presents are opened, special nativity plays are run and it's freezing cold. So, what better time than now to look at the games you should be looking at next year! Here are some of the "less famous" games that you can look forward to next year!

Patapon - PSP - Early 2008

Okami - Wii - 2008

Odin Sphere - PS2 - First half 2008

Everybody's Golf 5 - PS3 - First half 2008

Zack & Wiki - Wii - January 2008

Little Big Planet - PS3 - Late 2008

The World Ends With You - DS - Spring 2008

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings - DS - February 2008

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker - DS - First half 2008

Echochrome - PS3/PSP - 2008

Also, we hope to hear more about:

ICO 3 - PS3 - 2009
Final Fantasy XIII - PS3 - 2009/2010
White Knight Story - PS3 - 2010
Steambot Chronicles 2 - PS3 - 2009
Galactrix - No known formats - 2008/2009
Nobi Nobi Boy - PS3 - 2009
Operation: Darkness - XBox360 - 2009
Valkyrie of the Battlefield - PS3 - 2009
The Last Remnant - PS3/XBox360 - 2009/2010
Infinite Undiscovery - XBox360 - 2009/2010

Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core arrives in March for the US

A quick post to announce that for the importers among you, Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core will be released in the US on 25th March 2008. The game, when coincided with the release of a special edition PSP Lite and the release of the PSP Lite itself, sold quite a lot of copies in it's first 2 weeks.

Also announced for the US were the following:

Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors - Wii - 26th February 2008
Final Fantasy Crystal Cronicles: Ring of Fates - DS - 11th March 2008
The World Ends With You - DS - Spring 2008

Source: Kotaku

Monday, 17 December 2007

Trailers: Patapon blow out

There's no denying it. I absolutely can't wait for Patapon. At all. I've been waiting too long. Have I made that clear yet? It's getting so hard waiting for this that I'm going to link to IGN! Have some short fun videos from me! If you only watch one, make it the last one. Tree dancing wins!

Kill the beast!



Game Introduction



The Dancing Tree!

Last week (10th to 16th December)

Christmas is coming and news is scarce. However, there was still something to shout about. Yes, Patapon has been confirmed for Europe and the US in around February 2008. Then, a trailer of Disgaea 3 showed up, a game where the maximum level is 9999 and the damage limit is err uncountable! Sony then gave us more good news as Everybody's Golf 5 for the PS3 was finally confirmed for Europe and the US. How can it take so long to localise a golf game?! Finally, the final (judging by lack of exciting releases next week and the week after) UK release list of 2007.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

This week's UK releases (14th to 20th December)

Every Thursday, I report on what is being released this week on all consoles. Releases are subject to last minute delays and changes.

PLAYSTATION 3
Half-Life 2: The Orange Box
The Elder Scrolls Oblivion - Game of the Year

WII
The Legend of Spyro - The Eternal Night

PLAYSTATION 2
Mr Bean

PC GAMES
Space Force - Captains
The Golden Compass

PSP
Beowulf
Disgaea - Afternoon of Darkness
The Golden Compass
Wipeout Pulse

Source: Eurogamer

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Everybody's Golf 5 chips up to Europe and US

It's been almost an eternity for this game to arrive after the Japanese release but the wait is almost over. The US recently announced that EG5 (Hot Shots Golf 5 in the US) was coming out in March 2008 and Sony Europe also confirmed that they hope to bring the game here around the same time. EG5 is the PS3 incarnation of the great EG series and supports online play (so did EG4 on the PS2 but I didn't have online facilities back then).

Source: Eurogamer

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Trailer: Disgaea 3 trailer

This trailer is apparently on the Japanese PSN so you may get some better quality there. For those of us who are just dreaming about PS3's and Disgaea, we'll have to make do with a Gametrailers trailer...

Oh, and remember that PSP fans can get a dose of Disgaea this week when Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness is unleashed on Friday.



Source: NeoGAF

Edit: Gametrailers have the new trailer up and I trust their quality a lot more than Youtube obviously...

Jealousy ensues as Patapon is up for US release in February [Update: Europe too]

The American people can celebrate hard as Patapon was given a release (month) date of February 2008. The game, from the makers of LocoRoco, sees the little Patapon characters fighting all sorts of things based on the sounds of drums. It's up to you to direct them on how to fight or advance.

Annoyingly, there's no confirmation of a European release yet (hence the jealousy) but you certainly shouldn't be worried. This news story did come after SCEE went home for the night. Surely it'll be announced tomorrow. Please?!

[Update: The game has been confirmed for Europe in "a similar time-frame" to the US version. It is fully confirmed for Europe, delayed or not]

Source: Joystiq, Eurogamer

Monday, 10 December 2007

Last week (3rd to 9th December)

Well, with Christmas coming up, news stories are thin on the ground. This week did see the rolling Square-Enix train of releases continue with a European release announcement of the previously titled "It's a Wonderful World" (now called "The World Ends With You"). Then, there was more clarification of the Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings release date for Europe as it was apparently put at 15th February 2008. The week was helped along with the first official trailer for Patapon which comes out in Japan this month. Finally, we had a standard list of this week's UK releases.

Friday, 7 December 2007

This week's UK releases (7th to 13th December)

Every Thursday, I report on what is being released this week on all consoles. Releases are subject to last minute delays and changes.

PLAYSTATION 3
Medal of Honor - Airborne
SingStar
Timeshift
Uncharted - Drakes Fortune
World Series of Poker - Battle of the Bracelets

XBOX 360
Dancing Stage Universe
Soldier of Fortune - Payback

WII
Alan Hansen Sports Challenge
Alvin and The Chipmunks
Catz
Cheggers Party Quiz
Cranium
Dogz
Pokemon Battle Revolution
Tomb Raider - Anniversary
Who Wants to be a Millionaire

PLAYSTATION 2
Alvin and The Chipmunks
Mr Bean
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force Evolution

PC GAMES
Juiced 2 - Hot Import Nights
Soldier of Fortune - Payback
Sudden Strike 3
The Golden Compass

DS
Alvin and The Chipmunks
MYST
Steel Horizon
Ultimate Mortal Kombat
Warhammer 40000 - Squad Command

PSP
NBA Live 08
Pimp My Ride
Pursuit Force - Extreme Justice
SOCOM: Tactical Strike
Sonic Rivals 2
Telly Addicts
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 2

Source: Eurogamer

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Trailer: Official Patapon trailer [Updated]

The official Patapon website had a huge update recently, and includes a new video of the game. Unfortunately, it took me a few attempts to finally watch it all from the site (thank goodness for VideoLAN). From what I could see though, there was a lot to do and a lot to think about. The game is released in Japan on 20th December 2007. A February release is rumoured for Europe.

To get to the trailer, go to the website, click "Enter", then click the special menu (hover over the bottom part of the pop-up to see the menu) and click Movie. Good luck loading it!

[Update: Gametrailers video embedded below!]

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings release date fully set

More news from the RPG giants, Square-Enix as they fully confirmed the release date for FFXII: Revenant Wings. The game was already set for a 2008 release in Europe but now it looks to be coming on February 15th 2008. Start planning some time off!

Source: Pocket Gamer

It's a Wonderful World when Square-Enix like Europe

You heard that right everyone. It's A Wonderful World is approaching Europe in Spring 2008. Except it's not going to be called that. Nope, it's instead going to be called "The World Ends With You".

Ugh. Oh well, at least it's coming. I was a little worried when things went quiet...

Source: Cubed3

Monday, 3 December 2007

Last week (26th November to 2nd December)

Well, in comparison to last week's "last week", this won't take very long.

The week started with a 30 second teaser of Fragile, a new post apocolyptic RPG for the Wii. Then came news of Coded Soul coming to the PSP, with hints of a link-up to PS3's Folklore. Then we had a slew of releases from the UK.

Arguably the biggest news of the week was the announcement that Square-Enix were bringing over Odin Sphere for the Europeans in early 2008. This 2D-ish RPG, while criticised for its slowdown during major battles, has been receiving a lot of praise for the graphical style and gameplay. Finally, there was the introduction video from Yggdra Union for the PSP. Although, you shouldn't be seduced by the graphics exhibited in the trailer, I don't mind if you get seduced by the music which is the best I've heard from a trailer for a while.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Trailer: Yggdra Union Introduction

This game from the makers that brought you Riviera: The Promised Land finally came out of hiding (again) to show off a new, stunning intro of the game, along with some small video clips of gameplay. They are all scattered around the official website while the intro can be found in the section marked "Movies". The trailer can also be seen below but the movie on the website is much better. The game is released in Japan in the back-end of January 2008.

Oh, and don't buy the game just because the intro looks cool. I do tend to fall for it a lot but I don't expect this game to have anime cut-scenes throughout! The music on the other hand...

Odin Sphere comes to Europe (at last!)

Just when you thought it was safe to scratch another game off the PS2's RPG list, comes news that Square-Enix is making an unprecedented move to publish the Atlus USA game Odin Sphere for Europe. This is the first time that Square-Enix have published a game that is not their own. The game looked destined to never come here but it looks like it will happen after all! The game will arrive in Europe in the early part of 2008.

Source: Eurogamer

Thursday, 29 November 2007

This week's UK releases (30th November to 6th December)

Every Thursday, I report on what is being released this week on all consoles. Releases are subject to last minute delays and changes.

PLAYSTATION 3

Blazing Angels - Secret Missions of WWII
Cars Mater-national
John Woo Presents Stranglehold
The Golden Compass

XBOX 360
BlackSite: Area 51
Hitman: Blood Money (Classics)
Looney Tunes - ACME Arsenal
The Golden Compass
World Championship Poker 2: All In

WII
Ben 10
Big Catch - Bass Fishing
Bratz The Movie
Looney Tunes - ACME Arsenal
My French Coach
My Spanish Coach
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
The Golden Compass

PLAYSTATION 2
Barbie Island Princess
Boogie
Dogz
Hard Rock Casino
Hot Wheels - Beat That!
Looney Tunes - ACME Arsenal
Mr Bean
Realplay Golf
Realplay Pool
Realplay Puzzlesphere
Realplay Racing
Telly Addicts
The Golden Compass

PC GAMES
BlackSite: Area 51
Cars Mater-national
My Horse and Me

DS
Arcade Classics - Volume 1
Big Catch - Bass Fishing
Boogie
Bratz 4 Real
Crazy Pig
Ed, Edd n Eddy
Guru Guru
Jenga
Konami Arcade Classics
Looney Tunes - Duck Amuck
Monster Bomber
Monster Puzzle
SNK Vs Capcom Card Fighters
The Golden Compass
Winx Club - Mission Enchantrix

PSP
Alien VS Predator - Requiem
Football Manager Handheld 2008
Medal Of Honor Heroes 2
Syphon Filter: Logans Shadow

Source: Eurogamer

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Coded Soul creeps to PSP

The latest issue of Famitsu has some details on a new RPG called Coded Soul. The game is being made for the PSP by Kouji Okada, creator of the Shin Megami Tensei series of games. He also brought Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner to the PSP. Just like this game, the game will feature ad-hoc play and focus on the collection of monsters for battle. Famitsu also reveals that the game will somehow link up to the PS3 RPG, Folklore (FolkSoul in Japan). Possible release in February for Japan.

Source: PSP Fanboy, RPGLand with scan

Monday, 26 November 2007

Trailer: Fragile teaser

Remember Fragile? Well, there's a trailer for it below. It doesn't last long but moving pictures are better than stills aren't they? Also, for those that don't see the updated post, the official website is open.

Last week (19th to 25th November)

It's been a huge week around here but thankfully, the weekly update will squeeze all the week's news into 1 story.

First of all, I'd like to personally welcome Alex Rowe who will be (and already is) helping me out on the blog. Alex is the leading person from the Team ICO Gamers group and to have him contribute around here is very welcome.

Also, I forgot to put in the previous "Last Week" story so there is a story that need to be rounded up. Not important but it was the UK's release list between 15th October and 21st October.

To this week now and boy did we have a lot to get through! I missed a lot of stories during my time off so I briefly covered them on Monday. I also provided details on how to play the Japanese demo of "For a Hero, You're Pretty Impudent". There was also a good trailer of Operation: Darkness for the XBox360.

There was some brief news about a new RPG called Fragile, coming to the Wii and showed off by Famitsu. There was also the shock news that the PSP Store for PCs had launched, followed up by sales figures for Super Mario Galaxy. I followed up on the PSP Store launch with my first impressions of beats which was a game that was relatively unknown in gaming circles and is one which I did like.

Following on there were releases for the week as normal with quite a few big hitters this week (possibly the last week of big shots this year). I spotted a gameplay training video of Valkyrie of the Battlefield, which won't make much sense unless you're fluent in Japanese. I then found out that I was neglecting the weekend posts so I thought I'd make one, detailing my plans for the weekend. (and they were not as accurate as I thought they would be).

Even after that though there was still plenty to get through, with the classic Sega Saturn game NiGHTS getting a re-release for the PS2 (unlikely for Europe but we'll see), and the first trailer for Fading Shadows on the PSP which I criminally forgot to report on in my round-up! I also posted up a video of Nobi Nobi Boy, which had been doing the rounds online for a while.

I had overlooked a decent trailer for Valkyrie Profile 2 on release, so better late than never, I found the European launch trailer which includes quite a lot of what the game is about. Then, I spotted a new DS RPG called Steal Princess, of which I have absolutely no idea about (except that it includes a fairy and female character with an eye-patch). I also spotted a possible release date for Patapon in Europe, which confirms other sources. Finally, I finished writing up a review of the superb LocoRoco on the PSP.

Phew, I'm beat!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Game Review: Loco Roco

Every second Wednesday (OK, every so often then...), I write about a game that I've played in a short/long review. These are only my thoughts and I'm not responsible if you buy a game based solely on my review and you hate the guts out of it...

Game - LocoRoco (PSP)

Games that break convention don’t come very often. We’re increasingly looking for realistic graphics, realistic gameplay and expecting complex control systems to go with it. Well, guess what? LocoRoco isn’t one of those games. In fact it’s just good, clean, simple fun that anyone can enjoy. One that deserves all the accolades it gets.

The basic premise is that the LocoRoco, round yellow creatures, lived on their planet, taking care of it and singing their troubles away, until the Mojas come down from space to take over the planet. Being a peaceful bunch, you have no choice but to help them out by tilting the planet and guiding them to rescue everyone. How do you do this? You simply tilt the world left and right and also shake the planet to cause the creatures to jump. That’s it!

Gameplay

Well, almost. First of all, as you eat berries, you will start to grow. This is a good thing as you need to grow to save some of your friends (like the blue MuiMui). Unfortunately, that also means that you’ll have trouble getting through narrow gaps. To get through these small gaps, you need to scare the LocoRoco and force them to split up into smaller LocoRoco to get through to the other side (and possibly eat a few more berries along the way). You can get to a size where you eventually split into 20 small LocoRoco in each level.

Finding the berries isn’t always easy. Sometimes they are hidden from view until you hit the right area, and some are hidden further still by being hidden in secret areas that you won’t see until you jump into them. Finding these areas is great fun and prolongs your stay in the game. A level can be finished within 3 to 4 minutes but by finding every single berry, you’ll end up taking 10 to 20 minutes to explore and jump into every single avenue.

There are many other things to see and interact with while you do all this. There are a few mini-games, a mini-house and eventually a small level editor to make your own level and send to your friends. The game has a huge amount of charm with a bubbly soundtrack that your yellow friends (and others) will sing to you as you explore the levels and make you grin from ear to ear. You also start to feel guilty when you hit an enemy who suddenly gobbles up one of your LocoRoco, which is a disaster if you’re trying to find them all.

Conclusions

This game is quite simply superb. Easy to pick up, difficult if you’re aiming for everything. The game has one the most simple control systems you’ll see on the PSP, using only 3 buttons in a level (2 for tilting the world, and one to split the LocoRoco up). The game just makes you feel warm inside thanks to the soundtrack and the colourful graphics. If there was one gripe about it, I’d say it might be that it’s too short. There are enough levels for the person wanting everything, but not enough for those who just whiz through. Also, the game might get a bit frustrating at times. For example, the ice levels can be a nightmare when avoiding the dangerous spikes. However, don’t let that put you off. If you’re a PSP owner who wants an original game, you should not miss this unless you really don’t care. Quite frankly, you must be pretty cold if you don’t.

Score: 9/10

Friday, 23 November 2007

Rumour: Patapon to reach Europe in February? (Update 1)



Earlier in the month, Team ICO Gamers reported that Patapon would be getting a February 2008 release. Although I had my doubts, it seemed plausible since some of the niche titles (coincidentally, like Shadow of the Colossus, We Love Katamari and Okami) tend to release in that month. Well, just to give the release date more credibility, the game is listed on Play.com as being released at the end of February. Of course there's so little text in the game that a release so close to the Japanese version (which seems to be heading for a 20th December 2007 release) is entirely feasible.

Play.com aren't the most reliable when it comes to release dates but it looks like we might be heading to February to start shouting Pata Pata Pata Pon! Until the fateful day that this arrives in Europe, have a gander at their official Japanese website.

Update: Patapon was confirmed for a February release

Steal Princess revealed

Climax, the makers of the Shining Force series have opened the website for it's first DS title. Named Steal Princess, the game is an Action RPG that will make use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection capabilities. That's about all I can muster. However, the website also says something about December. Maybe we will find out more details then...

Trailer: Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria European Trailer

This superb trailer was put up just a couple of weeks before the European release of the game in September. It shows a bit of the gameplay, the puzzling platform game aspects and "those" really nice CG sequences.

Trailer: First look at Nobi Nobi Boy



I'm playing catch up here but remember when I briefly told you about Nobi Nobi Boy being shown at GameCity in Nottingham? Well, someone kindly managed to film the event and thus we have a look at the game. So far, it's pretty weird if you asked me. Then again, so was We Love Katamari...

Ivolgamus release trailer for Fading Shadows

Fading Shadows is a puzzle-platformer game for PSP that sees the player guide an orb through levels by controlling a beam of light. This orb contains the soul of a young boy, and it is the player's job to rescue the boy by safely leading the orb to the Castle of Heaven.

There are 40 levels in total, and the difficulty level is perfectly balanced so that right when things start getting too familiar, another challenging element is thrown into the mix. Controlling the beam of light requires the player to master a uniquely original gameplay mechanic as the beam can be widened or narrowed for different effects, and the orb can be transformed into glass, wood and metal to surmount various obstacles.

In a sense, the beam acts like a magnet for the orb and the narrower the beam, the stronger the gravitational pull. Whether the orb is made of metal, wood or glass will also affect how the beam interacts with the orb. If the beam is too strong, wood will burn and glass will break. Yet these more fragile states are needed as puzzles require the player to activate underwater switches or float across rivers – metal just isn't suited to water and will quickly rust upon contact.

The in-game graphics are incredibly detailed and immersive as each level offers the player an enthralling new environment to explore with plenty of obstacles to overcome. Even once you've finished the game, the fun doesn't stop. A fast-paced and exciting multiplayer mode lets you test your skills against friends wirelessly.

Fading Shadows is scheduled for a February 2008 release.

The trailer can be downloaded at Ivolgamus' website.

[Update: The trailer has been uploaded by Gametrailers. Best quality you'll probably see!]

SEGA releases first images of NiGHTS remake

After announcing that they are re-making the Saturn classic NiGHTS for PS2, SEGA today released the first images of the new game in action.

Titled NiGHTS: Into Dreams, the game is heading for a Japanese release on the 21st February 2008.

NiGHTS: Into Dreams - First Images

The weekend has arrived!

Been a while since I last did this. It's Friday, so what's everyone up to?

Myself, I'll be hammering the beats on the PSP and playing Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria on the PS2.

Ah, VP2. The game looks superb and the mix of platforming and RPG elements is great fun. Basically, you control Alicia in a 2D/3D world and you have to shoot crystals, called photons which can freeze your enemies into a crystal. If you shoot a photon at the crystal, you can switch places, gaining access to places you haven't been before!

I'm only 3 hours in (I've just started coming in off the back of Shadow Hearts: From the new World) but so far, this game deserves the reviews it has been getting!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Trailer: Valkyrie of the Battlefield Gameplay

This video of the upcoming PS3 game gives you the basic military training and shows you how to beat your opponents by walking on top of buildings, sneaking in the grass, or just shooting on sight. Unfortunately, it's all in Japanese so you'll probably still not be fit for battle.

This week's UK releases (23rd to 29th November)

Every Thursday, I report on what is being released this week on all consoles. Releases are subject to last minute delays and changes.

PLAYSTATION 3
Beowulf
Guitar Hero 3 - Legends of Rock
Kane and Lynch - Dead Men
Lair
NBA 2K8
Need For Speed - Prostreet

XBOX 360
Ace Combat 6 - Fires of Liberation
Guitar Hero 3 - Legends of Rock
Kane and Lynch - Dead Men
Mass Effect
Need For Speed - Prostreet
Rainbow 6 Vegas (Xbox 360 Classics)
The Elder Scrolls Oblivion - Shivering Isles Expansion Pack

WII
Dewys Adventure
Guitar Hero 3 - Legends of Rock
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games
Need For Speed - Prostreet
My Horse and Me
Smartypants

PLAYSTATION 2
Cars Mater-national
Guitar Hero 3 - Legends of Rock
Jackass - The Game
NBA 2K8
Need For Speed - Prostreet

PC GAMES
Bratz 4 Real
Company of Heroes - Gold Pack
Company of Heroes - GOTY Edition
Kane and Lynch - Dead Men
My Horse and Me
Need For Speed - Prostreet
Painkiller Overdose
Supreme Commander - Forged Alliance Expansion Pack
Supreme Commander - Gold Edition
Unreal Tournament III

DS
Boulderdash Rocks
Cars Mater-national
Mario Party
My French Coach
My Horse and Me
My Spanish Coach
Need For Speed - Prostreet
Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots
Sight Training
Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys

PSP
Crash of the Titans
Jackass - The Game
Warhammer 40000 - Squad Command

Source: Eurogamer

First impressions: beats

Apart from the surprise release of the new PC-PSP Store (as in the one that was supposed to be released after Christmas), there were more surprises in-store when the European version of the Store had the full version of beats, a new game that managed to evade pretty much everyone's attention. At the moment, beats is only available in the European store while Americans have to make do with a trailer (though as usual they still got the better deal elsewhere). At £4.99, it seems like a good bargain, but is it up to the task?

I downloaded the game last night and so far, I've enjoyed it. The game itself takes up around 230MB on your memory stick (can't remember the exact figure at the moment) after you purchase it. The game takes your MP3 collection from the memory stick and puts a button sequence to the music, which is then given to you as a stage of the game. In other words, the game will last as long as you have music on your stick. If you feel you don't like the music in your collection, there's always the standard music wrapped in with the game.

In the game itself, your aim is to hit the right button as it's symbol scrolls on the screen, hitting it when the corresponding symbol reaches the centre circle. In Novice mode, you can see one circle and you can just concentrate on getting your button presses correct. In Normal mode and above, you will see three buttons from left to right. If a button symbol heads towards the left or right circles, you need to press the corresponding direction on the d-pad before you can press the button.

The more symbols you hit in time, the better your score and your chain will go up which in turn increases your multiplier. At some points, the symbol that comes onto the screen will have a trail of special sparkles. If you hit this one, your Overdrive meter, which is shown on the left of the screen, will go up. Once this is full, you can press the L button to double your multiplier for a few seconds. The better you use the overdrive, the more points you can score (after all, you don't want to use it up while the symbols aren't coming!)

I'm fairly impressed by the accuracy of the game to change the music to something playable. Let it be known that my taste in music is at the moment, Japanese music and game soundtracks, with a hint of electrical classical music. During my first round of stages, the buttons were pretty much in-tune with what I had. In terms of difficulty, novice and normal are straightforward enough but Hard is just insane and I can't begin to imagine what Expert is. Maybe too much of a spike there. The game also suffers from a slight slowdown when things get busy. Also, I would have liked a way to play all the stages from one of my collections and getting a total score at the end, rather than picking an individual song each time.

The game also features a jamming session where you can make and record your own tunes. I haven't explored it yet but it seemed pretty complex to me (tutorials are available for both modes of play). It might be worth exploring it, if you're a budding musician but if you're just here to play the game, it's safe to skip over this.

Is it worth £4.99? In my eyes, yes. The game is pretty solid aside from the niggles and if you have a huge music collection, then the game can last a long time. Just make sure you don't try the hard level too quickly on a rock song. It's bad enough with the Okami soundtrack...

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Super Mario Galaxy racks up 500k in sales

In just a week, the first outing for Mario on Wii has seen a huge success with over 500,000 copies sold in the U.S. alone.

The game is also doing well in reviews, having scored an overall 97.4% on GameRankings.com, coming very close to the much heralded Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time which has an aggregate score of 97.6%. It's all good news for Nintendo and with Christmas closing in, sales can only go up. Not that it's a bad thing. Galaxy is an amazingly fun game.

PSP Store Launches

Sony has launched the long awaited PSP store in western territories. Similar to the one used by PlayStation 3 owners, the store offers full games, demos, videos, music and other media for download.

SCEE has also revealed "Beats," a new bemani-style music game where players use their own MP3's to hit buttons in the correct combination and in time with the track. The game, along with many others is available for purchase from the UK version of the PSP Store.

Fragile RPG coming soon for the Wii [Update]

Famitsu have unveiled a new RPG coming to the Wii console, called Fragile. The game is from Namco, the makers of Eternal Sonata and the Tales series. Scans of the pages for this are circulating the net, like this.

[Update]

The official website is open. Go have a look!

New Contributor: Alex Rowe

Hello everyone, I'm Alex and from today I'll be contributing to Hiding in a Game World by covering news and press releases.

Although my main interests in the industry are Fumito Ueda, his team and their games, I love videogames so I'm very grateful to HiddenAway for giving me this opportunity to write about the things which do not fit on my blog.

I guess there isn't much else to say about me... See you all around!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Trailer: Operation: Darkness

Here's a trailer for one of the 2 XBox360 RPG's I mentioned. If I'm perfectly honest, it looks pretty good. Keep an eye on it!

For a Hero, you're Pretty Impudent: Free demo

Well, it's better than remembering the Japanese name isn't it? Yuusha no Kuse ni Namaiki da, or FAHYPI for ultimate shorthand is a game where you play as the villian and you have to kill the good guys that come after you. I've been fooling around with the game thanks to this free demo, and it's been a surreal experience so far. Loads of green blobs and skeleton warrior guard dogs/humans. Worth keeping an eye on as we approach the game's release.

Instructions for the demo:

Firmware required: 3.72

Controls

Menu screen

x - cancel
square/circle - select option

From left to right

1. Play (Training and actual gameplay)
2. Monster inventory?
3. Options (BGM and SE)

In game

circle - speed up text
x - skip speaking person
square - hit block/object
triangle - zoom out
select - monsters on field
start - pause
L - see character/current pickaxe position

How to play

In the training levels, you need to crush the blocks to reveal the amount of "blobs" required (shown at the bottom) within the time. The monsters get harder to find and the blobs do wonderful things when they hit a block (tip: look for white).

In the main demo levels, you have to build up your army of bad guys and beat up the good guy that comes after you.

Gaming news in brief

Been away for a while but I'm back and now ready for a quick catch up!

Atlus announces localisation for 2 RPG's for the XBox360

Dragoneer's Aria approaches Europe

Zack & Wiki delayed to February 2008

Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness for Europe in December (maybe 7th)!

PS3's Nobi Nobi Boy shown at GameCity

Source: Eurogamer

Friday, 26 October 2007

This week's UK releases (26th October to 1st November)

Every Thursday, I report on what is being released this week on all consoles. Releases are subject to last minute delays and changes.

PLAYSTATION 3
Clive Barker's Jericho
Eye Of Judgement
Juiced 2 - Hot Import Nights
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008

XBOX 360
Call of Duty 3 (Xbox 360 Classic)
Clive Barker's Jericho
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
Tomb Raider: Anniversary
Virtua Fighter 5

WII
Avatar The Legend of Aang - The Burning Earth
Escape from Bug Island
Metroid Prime 3 - Corruption
NBA Live 08
The Bigs
The Sims 2 - Castaway

PLAYSTATION 2
Alan Hansen Sports Challenge
Avatar The Legend of Aang - The Burning Earth
Cheggers Party Quiz
Moto GP 2007
Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots
Pippa Funnell: Ranch Rescue
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
The Sims 2 - Castaway
SingStar R&B
The King of Clubs
Tomb Raider: Anniversary (Platinum)

PC GAMES
Alan Hansen Sports Challenge
Cheggers Party Quiz
Clive Barker's Jericho
Escape from Paradise City
Heroes V Gold Edition
NBA Live 08
Pippa Funnell 4: Secrets Of The Ranch
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
The King of Clubs
The Witcher
Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals

DS
Avatar The Legend of Aang - The Burning Earth
The Sims 2 - Castaway

PSP
Coded Arms Contagion
Dead Head Fred
Playwize Poker and Casino
Spiderman The Movie 3
Tomb Raider Anniversary
World Championship Poker 2

Source: Eurogamer

Monday, 22 October 2007

Last week (15th to 21st October)

Quite a bit really. I had a massive yelp of excitement when someone pulled out an article on Dark Cloud 3. Shame that the article was pulled out from 2006. I also caught up with the news that Dragon Quest Joker: Monsters was being released in 2008 for Europe (again, nothing to see here).

I said in my Dark Cloud news that almost nothing could be bigger than that. I was wrong. Shows how much I know. I have my doubts about the potential quality but Capcom confirmed that Okami will be coming to the Nintendo Wii.

Finally, last week's UK releases.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

This week's UK releases (19th to 25th October)

Every Thursday, I report on what is being released this week on all consoles. Releases are subject to last minute delays and changes.

XBOX 360
Eternal Sonata
Half-Life 2: The Orange Box
Thrillville: Off the Rails

WII
Carnival - Funfair Games
Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis
Thrillville: Off the Rails

PLAYSTATION 2
Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz
Naruto Ultimate Ninja 2
SingStar Bollywood
Thrillville: Off the Rails
WWII - Battle Over Europe

PC GAMES
Football Manager 2008
Half-Life 2: The Orange Box
Thrillville: Off the Rails
World of Warcraft - Battlechest

DS
Cocoto Racers
Disney Friends
High School Musical
Luminous Arc
The Legend of Zelda - Phantom Hourglass
Thrillville: Off the Rails

PSP
Juiced 2 - Hot Import Nights
Thrillville: Off the Rails

Source: Eurogamer

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Holy moly! Okami for the Wii! [Update 1: Rumour confirmed]

The rumours keep surfacing, then dying, then surfacing again. This time though, these guys seem very sure of it. Yes, the sublime Okami is being ported over to the Nintendo Wii from the Playstation 2. Personally, the idea of it is a bit off to me. Okami was brilliant enough on the PS2 but for the Wii?

If it's confirmed, I might just buy it anyway. The game is good enough to get a second chance...

Source: Wiiz

Update: Holy cow! The rumours were true! The game was announced in London and confirmed by Eurogamer. Initial release date of 2008. Let's just hope Capcom don't mess this up.

Update source: Eurogamer

Monday, 15 October 2007

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker also comes to Europe

Square-Enix gave DS owners more to cheer about as they announced that Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker will be heading to Europe in early 2008. Wait a minute, isn't that the same sort of release date as FFXII: RW? Oh well, at least it's coming...

Source: Eurogamer

Dark Cloud 3 being made for the PS3? [Update 1]

Only an official confirmation about ICO's PS3 game will be enough to topple this as news of the week for me. Level 5's first foray into RPG's could be about to receive it's third installment according to PSMania in Italy. I'll label this as a rumour for now, but given that the second game of the series was brilliant, I really hope that this is true and we see some early shots of the game. This is one game that will seriously sell the PS3 for me.

Source: PSU

Update: Seems this is not new news. The magazine dates back to 2006. Nothing to see here then. Darn :-(

Update source: onAXIS (still reporting wrong but with additional cover)

Last week (8th to 14th October)

A few news stories trickled down the hill, with a Yggdra Union remake seen for the PSP by Famitsu, as well as a sequel to Etrian Odyssey. Renevant Wings for the DS also got the nod in Europe for 2008 and I had a brief look at SolaRola for mobile phones, a sort of LocoRoco style play from the PSP.

Rumours also roamed about concerning Team ICO's PS3 game but have since been debunked. Finally, a look at this week's UK releases.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

This week's UK releases (12th to 18th October)

Every Thursday, I report on what is being released this week on all consoles. Releases are subject to last minute delays, changes and postal strikes.

PLAYSTATION 3
Folklore
NBA Live 08
Skate

XBOX 360
Crash of the Titans
Project Gotham Racing 4
Spiderman - Friend or Foe

WII
Crash of the Titans
Spiderman - Friend or Foe

PLAYSTATION 2
Crash of the Titans
NHL 08
Spiderman - Friend or Foe

PC GAMES
Heroes V - Tribes of the East Expansion Pack
Race 07
Rail Simulator
Sid Meiers Civilisation 4 Complete
Spiderman - Friend or Foe

DS
Chronos Twins
Dogz 2
Dolphin Island
Donkey Kong Jungle Climber
Fashion Designer
Pet Vet
Pippa Funnell 2 - Farm Adventures
Real Football
Spiderman - Friend or Foe

PSP
Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron

Source: Eurogamer forums

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

PS3 ICO game revealed? [Update 1: Rumour smashed]

Take with your daily pinch of salt. Actually, make that the whole shaker. A load of details on Team ICO's new project were revealed on NeoGAF and have apparantly been taken from GameInformer's next issue. What the rumour says is that the game (titled The Last Canyon) will be set in a desert and that players will control the protagonist who uses a glider to explore canyons for "something". Kind of what Nausicaa did in the critically acclaimed Studio Ghibli film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

The rumour has been debunked by a few on NeoGAF and some people have their doubts. We'll know if it's true or not when the next issue of GameInformer hits the US in a few days time.

Source: NeoGAF

Others reporting: IGN

Update: Seems this isn't in the latest issue of Game Informer after all (and one of the Game Informer guys on the GAF forum said so too) so this is now being labelled as false.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Rolling to your mobile

Loco Roco is one of the more well known PSP games. It's got a version on the PS3, strangely labelled as an interactive screensaver. It's also captured the imagination of Progressive Media and Eidos. They've created Sola Rola for the humble mobile phone. You roll a blob/ball from one side of the level to the other, avoiding radioactive goo. Sound like Loco Roco? Yes, I thought so too, but it's looking superb, evidenced by Pocket Gamer's perfect score for the title in it's review.

Keith Stuart from the Guardian Gamesblog has also sang out about how good the game is and has pointed me to a demo.

Basically, it's brilliant. Three short levels but it gives a tone of the game that means it's not going to take itself seriously. All the better I say!

Sola Rola demo (Requires Java)

Source: Guardian Gamesblog

Monday, 8 October 2007

FFXII: Revenant Wings gets European nod

Unlike Level 5's Jeanne d'Arc, one game that will be arriving in Europe will be the Final Fantasy XII spin-off, Revenant Wings for the DS. The game is a real-time strategy game, set one year after the original ends and is the first in the company's Ivalice Alliance (the second being Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions). Square-Enix confirmed that the game will be arriving in gamers hands early 2008. When exactly is not known but it's a start. Now, about Subarashiki Kono Sekai...

Source: Eurogamer

Etrian Odyssey sequel revealed

Another late news item is the annoucement of the sequel to DS RPG Etrian Odyssey. The first game saw the player making their own maps as they explored vast dungeons. Each movement would trigger movements from enemies, making combat and movement essentially turn-based.

Source: NeoGAF

Yggdra Union remake for the PSP

This (OK, last week's) Famitsu saw the first signs of a remake of GBA RPG Yggdra Union on the PSP. The game itself is made by the same people who made the promising but technically flawed Riviera: The Promised Land. Here's hoping that the technical issues found in Riviera can be ironed out for this remake (not due until 2008).

Source: NeoGAF

Last week (1st to 7th October)

Not much happening this week. Just the standard weekly UK releases, a trailer for ASH (Archaic Sealed Heat), and the hugely disappointing news that Jeanne d'Arc will never see the light of day in Europe. Boo...

My Riviera review has also been changed to reflect the Eurogamer review I posted up on Tuesday.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Jeanne d'Arc NOT coming to Europe

Only just found this out today when Eurogamer gave Jeanne d'Arc it's lowest score according to Metacritic. It seems that Jeanne d'Arc has been confirmed for a no-show in Europe. That's hugely disappointing for the European RPG fans. The lack of RPG's in Europe is painful for PSP owners, but that's mainly because we apparently only care about football games and shoot-em-ups anyway...

For those Europeans that want this game, you'll have no choice but to go to your favourite importer and get the game from them. Mine is winging it's way to me right now but for those in Europe who don't know where to begin, I share your disappointment.

Trailer: ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat

This game for the Nintendo DS looks brilliant. I can't wait to see more of this game Here's hoping that this gets a European release!

This week's UK releases (5th to 11th October)

Every Thursday, I report on what is being released this week on all consoles. Releases are subject to last minute delays, changes and postal strikes.

PLAYSTATION 3

Madden NFL 2008

XBOX 360
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Hard Evidence
NBA Live 08

WII
None this week

PLAYSTATION 2
Call of Duty 3 - Platinum
Crime Scene Investigation 3 - Dimensions of Murder
Garfield - Lasagne World Tour
NBA Live 08
Top Gun

PC GAMES
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Hard Evidence
Scrabble 2007 - New Edition

DS
Cookie and Cream
Glory Days 2
Honeycomb Beat
Naruto Ninja Council

PSP
Final Fantasy Tactics - The War of the Lions
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08

Source: Eurogamer forums

Monday, 1 October 2007

Last Week (24th to 30th September)

As the Tokyo Game Show said goodbye to 2007 and looked forward to 2008, I rounded off a couple of trailers that I missed on the last few days, namely, Steambot Chronicles 2 and Oboro Muramasa (from the makers of Odin Sphere).

Apart from that, I took a look at my Wanted List and talked about Brave Story, released in July in the US (unlikely to come to Europe). I also created my second ever review (woo!), this time dissecting Riviera: The Promised Land (this review can also be found on Eurogamer under reader reviews. The current version on this site will be updated to the EG version).

I then had a look at this week's UK releases and also found out that Endless Ocean for the Wii was going to come to the UK, sooner than I thought in November. Finally, I looked at one of the most promising games on the PS3, LittleBigPlanet.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Watch List: LittleBigPlanet

Every Friday, I look at one of the games on the Watch List, the list of games that you should be keeping your eye on for news and reviews.

Name: LittleBigPlanet

Format: Playstation 3

Website: Official website of Media Molecule

What is it?

The game, first seen in March 2007 at the GDC, doesn't have a story as such, but it revolves around user created content. In the game, you have a chance to create your own levels, and upload them to the Internet for other people to play. To play, you would create your own character and either tackle the level on your own, or tackle the level with others as you help one another through the obstacles that others will put on you.

The first sign of the game stunned everyone (OK, nearly everyone) with it's graphical style and the possibilities of the game as a whole. It's being widely regarded as one of Sony's trump cards and is one of the most anticipated titles on the PS3.

No release date has been given for the game, but it's expected to arrive in 2008. A PSN demo of the game is not fully confirmed, but is likely to arrive sometime in the next few months.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Endless Ocean confirmed for Europe

Well, even more of a surprise now! It seems that Nintendo have confirmed that the scuba diving sim, Endless Ocean, will be diving it's way to Europe on the 9th November 2007 (or at least the UK, you get the drift). The game scored a respectable 35/40 in Famitsu and despite early reports of the game crashing, we can look forward to seeing what it's really like under the ocean.

Maybe...

Source: CVG

This week's UK releases (28th Sept to 4th October)

Every Thursday, I report on what is being released this week on all consoles. Releases are subject to last minute delays and changes.

PLAYSTATION 3

Conan
FIFA 08
Ratatouille
SEGA Rally
Stuntman - Ignition

XBOX 360
Conan
FIFA 08
Juiced 2 - Hot Import Nights
Ratatouille
SEGA Rally
Skate
Test Drive Unlimited (Classics)

WII
FIFA 08
Ratatouille

PLAYSTATION 2
Bratz The Movie
FIFA 08
Grim Grimoire
Impossible Mission
Juiced 2 - Hot Import Nights
Ratatouille

PC GAMES
ArmA - Queens Gambit Expansion Pack
Blazing Angels - Secret Missions
Boxing Manager
Company of Heroes Opposing Fronts
Enemy Territory - QUAKE Wars
FIFA 08
John Woo Presents Stranglehold
Moto GP 2007
Neverwinter Nights 2 Expansion Pack 1: Mask of The Betrayer
Ratatouille
Requital
SEGA Rally
The Settlers VI - Rise of an Empire

DS
FIFA 08
Jam Sessions
Juiced 2 - Hot Import Nights
Luminous Arc
New York Times Crosswords
Race Driver - Create and Race
Ratatouille

PSP
Brunswick Pro Bowling
Crazy Taxi - Fare Wars
FIFA 08
Ratatouille
SEGA Rally

Source: Eurogamer Forums

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Game Review: Riviera: The Promised Land

Every second Wednesday (OK, every so often then...), I write about a game that I've played in a short/long review. These are only my thoughts and I'm not responsible if you buy a game based solely on my review and you hate the guts out of it...

Note: This is the same review as the one I submitted to Eurogamer. Not much has changed, though a few things were taken out...

Game - Riviera: The Promised Land (PSP)

Ports eh? You either love them or hate them. For some, they can't stand them. For others, a chance to reflect on the past with hopefully new content. There's also a few who like them for another reason though. Namely, the newer gamers around who didn't get the chance to play the games that others have and loved.

One of the games that passed me by was Riviera: The Promised Land. This game came out on the Wonderswan in Japan (so the West knew little about the game's existence). This was followed a few years later by the GBA port of the game, with added CG scenes, a new art style and added events along with voice acting. This game was released in the US as well as Japan. Now, the game has received it's third remake on the PSP.

Story

Riviera didn't just come out of the blue though. 1000 years have passed since demons from Utgard last overran the gods of Asgard. These demons were defeated by the grim angels sent by the gods. Ein (your character for the whole game) and Ledah are Grim Angels, sent to Riviera to activate the Retribution, a hidden power which would destroy the demons, but would also lead to the destruction of Riviera. Ein has his doubts, and when he reaches the gate to Riviera, Ein is captured by Ursula, who upon finding out Ein's potential good, entrusts him with guarding Riviera and stopping the demons, before the Retribution takes place...

Gameplay

Obviously, the journey won't be easy. For one thing, you don't move Ein as in a normal RPG. Instead, you choose from 4 different directions to get from one side of a sub-area to the other. This is done in "Move" mode. You also get the chance to investigate your surroundings in each area by switching to "Look" mode and again choosing from one of the 4 directions. Some of these include opening chests, examining a ledge, or looking inside a well. At certain points, you might be asked to play a very quick mini-game where you have to hit the x button at the right time, or put in a password, or hit the right buttons at the right time. Most of this won't matter though. As you will need "Trigger points" for most of the game.

Trigger points are needed in order to view most of the area's surroundings (the red points of interest). These trigger points can only be obtained, either at the end of a chapter, or by winning a battle with a good evaluation of your skills.

This makes battles in Riviera that much more important as doing badly in a single battle, can lead to a shortage of points, and potentially make decisions later on harder to make. Do you take the chest or the alternative route?

It's easy to understand once you get further into the game, but it can be a little difficult to begin with. Thankfully, your faithful familiar Rose and your female companions (lucky guy) will help you throughout the first part of the game to get you customised with the system. It feels different despite a tentative link to Unlimited SaGa's system in moving. That said, the game makes you work to be able to explore and makes your journey harder if you mess up. It's a little dull not being able to walk through the world and walk into trees though!

No RPG is complete without monster fights. They're not random, but set at different points of the area. After a quick bit of dialogue, battle begins (unless you run...).

"Cadenza!"

Battling in Riviera is thankfully different as well. At first, it looks like a version of the Final Fantasy 7 ATB (Active Time Battle) system. Each player has a wait gauge and when it's empty, you execute a command. Sound simple? It is.

Well, at least until you know that you can only use items in battle. Four of them to be exact. Before battle, you must select the items that you will take into the fight. Nearly every item has a set number of times it can be used (called "Endurance points") before it disappears. Your choices here can win or lose the battle which adds a bit of tension to the game. I always had to make sure I chose the items I wanted, and even sometimes chose my items, before deciding on an almost different set of items before the final confirmation.

Some items allow a character to use a special skill aside from the normal use of an item. These can help turn battles in your favour and is one of the key factors of the battle evaluation at the end of the fight. If you were in desperate need for trigger points, you have to plan even more carefully about what items to take into battle, making the choice more tactical than you would think. Use that uber powerful weapon now? Or save it for the bigger enemies?

To unlock a skill, you need to have the character gain experience points with the item by simply using it. Training battles can be used (from a certain point in the game) at any time to gain the experience needed as items won't lose endurance points unless the enemy uses certain skills.

This method of training isn't for the easily bored gamer though as it can lead to a huge amount of grinding, which will put off some gamers. Even worse is that the inventory size is so limited, you might want to complete training with an item before it becomes full. This led me to actually train with every new bit of equipment that I picked up and slowed my progress down quite a lot.

All this talk of the skills, don't the enemies attack? Of course they do. They don't use items, but instead use a set skill at certain stages of the battle, depending on how much they've been hit, and how many in their party have fallen. It does make for some tense battles as some skills can potentially knock hundreds off your HP (and before you ask, no you cannot revive characters in battle, or at least I haven't been able to).

That all said, if you do actually fall in battle and retry the battle, you will have a slight advantage added on which can help you to finish the battle off. I never had to resort to this advantage myself but it's nice to know that the game allows this.

Conclusions

The way of moving your characters and a fresh battle system all makes for an interesting game. There's numerous endings to get (depending on which of the all female party (minus Ein, of course) likes you best, which is based on your decisions in the story) and a sense of charm that certain games lack along with it's own laugh out loud parts. The game is fairly standard for the PSP, clocking in at 30 hours (with full training). This increases if you want to get every single item and CG scene in the game (which includes getting the different endings). There's also the added ability to choose between Japanese and English voice acting, which will please the ones who hate American VA.

The battles will grate a few people though, especially those adverse to grinding in RPG's. Therefore, it's not the beginner's choice for an RPG. The game also lacks additional side-quests and is fairly linear. That limited inventory also irritated me (but does make for more decisions that can decide how the game goes on).

Unfortunately for me (I'm not aware of any other reports like this), as I played it through to it's conclusion, the game had some technical issues as well, which really marred my experience. The sound was skipping more than Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo and worse, sometimes my load files would not open. One time, I actually thought the game had managed to break the PSP altogether as I couldn't switch it on after 3 failed attempts to get my file loaded until I plugged it into the mains. I persevered because I liked the game itself and was able to overlook the issues I had. However, many gamers won't be quite as forgiving.

Which is a shame really. However, if you haven't played this before, are looking for an RPG, and are willing to overlook the technical hitches that might occur, this game will do you just fine. It's a good game, but the tedious battles will get to even the most hardened RPG player.

Score: 8/10

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Most Wanted: Brave Story

Every Tuesday, I look at a game on my Most Wanted list and discuss why I want it so much as well as some details from the game.

Name: Brave Story: New Traveller

Release Date: Out now in Japan and US, unlikely to arrive in Europe

Format: PSP

Developer: Game Republic

Websites

Official website

What is it?

An RPG, loosely based on the manga of the same name by Miyuki Miyabe.

Why is it on the list?

The PSP has always been criticised for it's issues when loading games. However, Brave Story has been touted as one that doesn't fall into this trap. The game's anime style has won over many players and reviews are generally good for the game, mainly praising the graphics but hating the fact that it doesn't quite break the mould.

That said, if you're a PSP player looking for an RPG, you can do a lot worse than get hold of this game.

Trailer: Oboro Muramasa (TGS 2007)

This new game is from the makers of Odin Sphere and well worth keeping an eye on. The sprites look as lively as ever on the Wii!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Trailer: Steambot Chronicles 2 (TGS 2007)

One of the smaller hits last year in Europe for the PS2, this game shifted over to the PS3. At the TGS 2007, it was shown as a trailer. This was filmed by someone for your enjoyment!

Note: Not an official trailer. Even Gametrailers has a camera filmed one only :-)

Last Week (17th to 23rd September) - TGS 2007 special

Here's the full list of trailers that I picked out from the massive load on offer from the Tokyo Game Show 2007.

White Knight Story/Chronicles
Zack & Wiki
Little Big Planet
The Last Remnant
Valkyrie of the Battlefield
We Love Golf!
Patapon (gameplay)
Time Hollow
Infinite Undiscovery

You can find the rest of last week's news here.

Last Week (17th to 23rd September)

It was a week full of Tokyo Game Show news as Japan's annual game fest got under way. Famitsu was in fine form, revealing a massive load of news.

First of all was the surprising news that Eternal Sonata was being released on the Playstation 3, after initially being shown as an XBox360 exclusive title. The good news for the PS3 continued with the announcement that Steambot Chronicles 2 was heading to the PS3, with a portable version also announced for the PSP.

The PSP then got another few bits of good news as Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions was given release dates for Europe and America, with Europe getting it first on October 5th (unless you order online in the UK, in which case you'll get it on the 12th or there abouts because of postal strikes :-( ). Even better news was the news that Everybody's Golf will be getting a full sequel on the PSP (none of that silly GPS stuff). This new version will boast full online play for 16 players and will be in Japan in December, with a European and American release sometime in 2008.

Then I posted a trailer of Fire Emblem for the Wii which looks impressive. Worth looking out for. Oh, speaking of looks, the blog has a new look now. This new wider look allows me to post those Gametrailer videos much more easily. The Team ICO Gamers blog was also made to capture all the latest news for Team ICO's next game and beyond. Finally, Blue Dragon has been rumoured to be made for the DS (though many say it's a card based game).

Tokyo Game Show trailers are listed here.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Trailer: Infinite Undiscovery (TGS 2007)

Two of the RPG giants, (Square-Enix and Tri-Ace) in Japan collaborate in a new project, exclusive to the XBox360. This is the first trailer (note, I thought had a slight sound issue during the video so it's not my problem!)

Blue Dragon to hit the DS?!

One of Microsoft's exclusive saviours from Japan might be slipping. A magazine has revealed that Blue Dragon could be heading to the Nintendo DS. This news has only just come in so it is not known whether this is true or not.

Source: IGN

Trailer: Time Hollow (TGS 2007)

A new game from Konami for the Nintendo DS. The outstanding feature of this seems to be a magic pen which can allow time travel. The trailer doesn't show much gameplay but shows a lot of anime story bits...

Trailer: Patapon gameplay (TGS 2007)

This game from the Loco Roco team is bizarre. In this video, the player learns a new way of controlling the small black creatures of the game. The game has been rumoured to have been helped along by team ICO but as nothing has been said at TGS, this is unlikely to be true...

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Trailer: We Love Golf! (TGS 2007)

This was recently revealed by Capcom. Interestingly, it's being made with Camelot publishing. The makers of the original Playstation classic, Everybody's Golf. Keep your eyes on it!

Trailer: Valkyrie of the Battlefield (TGS 2007)

This new game shows a very different graphical style to other games I've seen so far. It was reported on in Famitsu, but this is one to look out for.

Trailer: The Last Remnant (TGS 2007)

Yes, another trailer. This time from Square-Enix. The Last Remnant is to be released on the XBox360 and PS3.

Trailer: Little Big Planet (TGS 2007)

Another short one (these were supposedly taken from the Sony Keynote speech). However, it shows all aspects of the game, from creation, to publishing. Highly anticipated!

Trailer: Zack & Wiki (TGS 2007)

This game for the Nintendo Wii looks very promising. Swashbuckling adventures with different uses for the Wii remote, good graphics. One to look out for!

Trailer: White Knight Story/Chronicles (TGS 2007)

A short but stunning trailer from White Knight err Chronicles that was shown at the Tokyo Game Show 2007.

New look

Those of you who visited before will have noticed a colour change as well as an increase in the width of the blog. This is to allow me to put the trailers in a lot better and also might stop me making so many short posts :-).

What do you think?

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Trailer: Fire Emblem (Wii)

Fire Emblem is a strategy RPG which has many fans on the Nintendo platforms. This new version, entitled "Radiant Dawn", is exclusive for the Nintendo Wii

Monday, 17 September 2007

Everybody's Golf PSP gets sequel

Famitsu have done it again. They've shown off the sequel to one of the most fun games on the PSP. Yes, you read the title correct, Everybody's Golf (Minna no Golf, Hot Shots Golf) will have a sequel in Japan in December. Early translations state that the game will have 16 player online, 350 customisations and more courses. More news as it comes.

Sources: Famitsu article from Jeux-France, PSP Fanboy

Final Fantasy Tactics (PSP) release date confirmed

European fans rejoice as Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions for the PSP will be roaring out of the blocks on October 5th, 4 days before the official American release date. The game is a remake of the original which was badly handled during localisation in Square's early days and never made it to Europe. Check out the official UK website (there is a European one as well) for more details.

Source: Eurogamer

Steambot Chronicles 2 and portable version confirmed

In what was a bumper week for rare-ish games in Famitsu this week, Steambot Chronicles (Bumpy Trot in Japan) was shown in the latest edition in a PSP format. Not much is known about the portable edition but there were plenty of screenshots in Famitsu.

Also shown was a small screenshot from the sequel, which appears to have jumped ship to the PS3. This was later confirmed with the screenshot appearing on their website.