News: Ys strategy

So the Ys Strategy website is indeed up, but there’s not much to see yet. To celebrate the opening, Marvelous has put up a wallpaper – you’ll need a password from the latest Famitsu to download it. The magazine actually tells and shows much more about the game, which will be a RTS in the universe of Ys using the wireless and Wi-Fi connections of the Nintendo DS. Most of the action is dealt with on the tactile screen, the stylus cleverly replacing the usual mouse. The upper screen will display maps and status information. Four sides will be playable: Romun, Estaria, Afroca and Gria (there is no cannon romanization known for them yet). Different generals are shown too, and the red headed kid from Esteria is apparently not Adol but a look-a-like named Abel.

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News: Sega Rally is back

segarallyic.jpg Nobody really cared about Sega Rally 2006 on PS2 until Sega announced the japanese first press will include an adaptation of the original Sega Rally (released in arcades ten years ago) on a separate disc. Considered by some as one of the greatest racing games ever, Sega Rally was popular enough to save the Sega Saturn along with Virtua Fighter 2 during the christmas of 1996, and still is to date Tetsuya Mizuguchi‘s most successful title, back when he was producer at AM#3. The bonus disc is supposed to host a faithful port of the Model 2 CRX version, so don’t expect any home version extras such as the famed Lancia Stratos.

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News: Ridge Racer 6

ridge360.jpgRidge Racer 6 had been quite discrete lately for a game that’s supposed to drive (hoho) the Xbox 360’s launch in Japan on December 10th. Namco finally updated the official website with numerous images (that can also be found on Game Watch) and information. Five new tracks were revealed for a total of ten, and as some first elements hinted, the game will come back to Rave City for at least one track. We already know the main single player mode will be organized around missions à la the Soul series – with different and/or hidden missions depending on your actions and results, so this time Namco developed on the online features. Up to ten players will race together and the “Nitro” option can be turned off for purists. An online ranking based on points will also serve to determine who is the best ridge racer, and the best replays will be downloadable by everyone – nothing jawdroppingly new in sight, unlike what Bizzare claims with PGR3‘s features. Otherwise the game looks more and more like a sequel to Ridge Racers on PSP: choices of textures and global design are pretty similar and, from our TGS impressions, the game plays almost exactly the same – although with an upgraded boost system and an arguably better control pad. A lot of previous (fictional) car brands and models are coming back in revised designs, such as the Age Abeille or the Kamata Fiera. Ridge Racer 6 is still scheduled as a worldwide launch title for the X360.

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News: Everybody loves akio otsuka

Akio Otsuka (“Ootsuka Akio” if you’re hip) is the Japan’s manliest animation voice-actor; his best known role may or may not be that of Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Metal Gear Solid 3, though he’s also gained quite indestructable respect from the anime crowd for his work in the “Ghost in the Shell” movies and the “Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex” anime and game. (Which is a pretty good game, too, by cavia, makers of Drag-on Dragoon 2, one of the better games of this year.) Mr. Otsuka’s career hit a high note when he played the energetic and flambuoyant Mr. Akihabara in the otherwise horrendous Square-Enix manga/music mishmash Heavy Metal Thunder. Since then, he’s in just about everything.

Now for the news: it turns out Akio Otsuka is doing the voice of Musashibou Benkei in Banpresto’s Yoshitsuneki for PlayStation 2, being released next month. This is most interesting, because earlier this year, he performed the role of Benkei in Game Republic’s Genji, also for PlayStation 2. (From Software’s Yoshitsune Eiyuuden, released last year, featured an Otsuka soundalike as Benkei.) Otsuka is also slated to perform the role of Benkei in Genji 2, being released sometime late 2006. It’s curious, to say the least, that he’s played the same role in two games by different makers. Mr. Otsuka says, of the role, on Yoshitsuneki‘s official website, that it was “very easy for me to get into the role,” and that it’s “very fun,” and that Benkei is a favorite character of his. “Favorite,” in the anime industry, means you’re willing to be typecast down to the specific character.

The game itself is quite different from Genji, which visualized the Yoshitsune legend from a Hollywood-action-movie perspective. From Software’s effort progresses like a Japanese television drama series. Yoshitsuneki is definitely manga-inspired, with character designs by Hikaru no Go and Death Note artist Takeshi Kobata. The art looks very nice.

Akio Otsuka’s next project is the voice of villan Brandon Sheffield in Capcom’s insert credit: the videogame, based on the anime insert credit: the musical, based off Araki Hirohiko’s upcoming manga “the insert credit chronicles.” We shudder with anticipation to hear him utter the famed line “Ore no koto GORGEOUS to omousska?” Actually that’s a joke

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News: Growlanser V – Generations

growlanserV_01.jpgThis has been rumored for a long time now, and the latest Famitsu issue has finally let us know the truth – sadly, Growlanser V – Generations will have full 3D graphics. It seems that Career Soft is either dissolved, or not developing this episode, since there’s no mention of it in the whole article. At least, Urushihara is still there with the design. The game will be publicly presented at November’s Games Japan Festa in Osaka. Bad news for the 2D fans, and another hint that something still just isn’t right with today’s industry. The thanks go to Game Boku Tenin no Tawagoto.

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Review: Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is the new game for PlayStation 2 by Fumito Ueda and Kenji Kaido, the makers of the critically acclaimed Ico. It stars a young man who some people think is a girl. He’s not, though; he’s a stranger from a distant land, in a stranger and more distant land than where he’s from, engaged in a trial no mortal man can survive — that is, to kill sixteen animate stone giants, which wander freely (kind of) in the rolling hills of a lifeless land. He is doing this for a chance at saving the life of a girl, whose name may or may not be Wanda. I talked to Fumito Ueda, and asked him, “Who’s Wanda? The guy? Or the girl?” His reply came after a shrug. “Neither.” The “Colossus” of the title is quite obvious: those big stone giants. Just don’t call them bosses.

“They’re not bosses — they’re inverted dungeons.”

In the review, I give the game four stars, though I hesitate to call it my “game of the year.” I will reveal that one soon enough, in a list feature that will not include killer7. I have grown to hate that game, much as I admire it. I find it original without being creative. Shadow of the Colossus is less original than it is creative, though the creativity here goes a long way. Read why, and if you like, join our long-going discussion on the forums.

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News: Ys Strategy revealed friday

ys_strat.jpg Scans are already running around the web, but next friday will see the official unveiling of Ys Strategy. A logical date as it will coincide with the release of the new Famitsu, the opening of the game’s official website and the new Falcom newsletter. We can already confirm the game is an RTS in the spirit of Age of Empires. The character design looks well-executed (and familiar – isn’t this a designer from Capcom?), but first in-game screenshots look rather unexciting. Much more information to come in two days.

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News: Every Extend Extra’s website opens

eee.jpg Q Entertainment opened their Every Extend Extra webpage – it’s pretty similar to the one they made for Lumines right before the PSP launch. Check the dowload section for their nice TGS 2005 trailer. In case you never played the original freeware, Every Extend is a sort of time attack puzzle shooter focusing on destroying enemies through chain reactions. The ever on hiatus Doujinaroni has an old interview of the guy behind it. Judging from the playable version at last TGS, the Q Entertainment version is very close to the original in terms of gameplay, but with the kind of graphics and sounds you’d expect from the studio behind Lumines and Meteos, as well as a multiplayer mode. The game should be released around january 2006.

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News: Super Robots on handhelds

gaogaigar.jpgSuper robots are invading both trendy handhelds of the moment. First, The DS will host Sunrise’s popular robot series Gaogaigar (the one with the big lion head on its torso, for those mildly familiar with Super Robot Taisen). Probably the best concept ever, at least provided you dig robots and logigraphs, Oekaki Puzzle Battle! Yuusha-Ou Gaogaigar Hen will arrive on DS next november. For those unfamiliar with the term “logigraph” or cool magazines such as IllustLogic, the game is nothing more than a new take on the old handheld classic Mario no Picross.

Afterwards, super robots will appear in Super Robot Taisen MX Portable, an upgraded port of the PS2 game, which will be released on PlayStation Portable on December 29th. This will not be the only solution to save the world in public transports, mind you, as Super Robot Taisen J was recently released on the GameBoy Advance (along with a limited edition faceplate for the GameBoy Micro) and an episode for DS has already been confirmed as in the works. Speaking of Banpresto’s popular franchise, Majoria’s News has given a bunch of interesting related links recently, including fan arts and Wikipedia entries. (And yes, I do know I am probably the only guy in the world who’s equally a fan of both super robots and Picross.)

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News: Gyakuten OST

yomi.jpg Capcom announced they will release an original soundtrack album for Gyakuten Saiban – Yomigaeru Gyakuten, the DS remake of the first game in the series, via their label Suleputer, on November 13th for 3,150 yen. The OST will feature 34 tracks, including new tunes created for the exclusive fifth chapter of the remake. The booklet will be 8 pages long, full color, with comments from the staff. Via Iggy and Dengeki.

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