September is a big month for game news in Japan — and the world, really — because of The Tokyo Game Show. It officially goes down on the 20th-23rd, but there are usually news conferences earlier in the week. The first two days of the show are the press-only days, when you’ll want to watch for the bulk of the news, impressions, and media coming out. Tell us in the comments below what games you’re looking forward to hearing more about. On with the column!
~Tokyo Game Show Prep~
In case you missed it, check Sony’s list here. Namco Bandai has also revealed some games to expect at the show, and it’s a little disheartening for those wanting the Vita to rise up and take over the handheld scene. While Namco Bandai will have a Vita game on display, it’s a game that is shared by PSP, AKB 1/153: Love Election. Moreover, Vita’s one single game is trumped by its PSP showing of 16 games. One must consider that this is just one developer/publisher’s lineup, and it’s only a mere nine months after Vita’s release. Not just that, but the PSP has been extremely successful in Japan despite its mediocre performance abroad. What I worry about is too many companies being too slow to hop on the Vita train. If that happens, the system might become an antique in the eyes of the general public before it can really soar.
Good news for fans of Atelier games and swimsuits this month. First, PS3’s Atelier Ayesha got some DLC that includes a new gathering area, two new playable characters Marion and Odelia, and of course, swimwear. The download pack is modestly priced at 350 yen (like $4.25).
Atelier Totori, meanwhile, is destined for PS Vita. Kind of odd for Gust to make the first Vita game the second in its trilogy, but oh well. Ever loving bikinis, Gust will be giving out swimwear download codes to those who buy a first-print copy of Totori‘s portable version.
September 6th is PS3’s biggest day in September, as it will get Max Payne 3, Rachet and Clank HD, the new Assassin’s Creed, and budget-friendly re-releases of Saints Row the Third and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and visual novel Accel World (pictured above) show up on the 13th, then the 20th sees the arrival of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and El Oriente Online: The Second Age, the latter of which is showing up in a $150 boxed set all like “La-tee-dah.” PS3’s month rounds out with Sleeping Dogs and Dead or Alive 5 on the 27th.
The PSP gets a new RPG on the 6th, in the form of Lost Heroes, followed a week later by Elminage Shinkure and its own version of Accel World. On the 20th, it gets games America wishes it could get. I’m of course talking about Tiger and Bunny and Halloween Wedding. Screens below, and I’m not telling you which is which. SD Gundam G-Generation Over World closes up the PSP show on the 27th.
Ni no Kuni (PS3)
One barrier that Ni no Kuni will have in impressing people is their shortened attention span. Last month I mentioned some people running a podcast talking about this game, and they were running around in circles talking about how there was nothing to do, yet it was almost like they weren’t even trying to do anything. Once you get the story’s first steps out of the way, this game gets rolling in an awesome way. It’s got plenty of optional quests, some monster capturing/raising, a huge, gorgeous overworld to explore, and a very fun battle system. Just like several of Studio Ghibli’s films (Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service), Ni no Kuni is a great example of a story that can be enjoyed by people of all ages without being a product for children — really amazing. The battles begin very simply for a while, but soon become strategic, exciting affairs. When you play this, keep in mind that this is an RPG and needs a bit of time to really get its systems rolling. Your patience will be rewarded.
Gundam Seed Battle Destiny (PSV)
I just started this one the other day. Gundam Seed is my favorite sub-series of teh Gundam universe, so I like seeing those characters do their thing. I made my hero and called him “Dave the Brave” and set out. I haven’t played a Gundam video game since some 2D fighter on the original PlayStation, and everyone seems to say the 3D ones are really bad. But I’m not one to knock something without trying it, so I gave in to my fandom and laid down the cash. I’ve only fought a few battles so far, but overall they’ve been alright. I feel like disorientation happens a bit too easily in the outer space fights, while the ground battles could benefit from a quick-180. Again, that could just be my own noobishness, though. Anyone have experience with the Gundam games care to enlighten me in the comments?
Speaking of nonsense, who says you can’t learn anything from games? All this Metal Gear hype got me Googling music from the series and stumbling upon Sacco e Vanzetti, a gorgeous song by Ennio Morricone. I know this man from a lot of Western soundtracks, and most powerfully in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill 2. I did a little digging and find out the story behind the song and film of the same name, and I’ve now watched a documentary on the matter. In between getting the regular tasks of the day done here at the Hindman house, I’ve been listening to music by one of the all time greats and learning about a very interesting story that I knew nothing about. I just had a kickass day thanks to video games — not just lounging around playing them like a jerk, but through tangential learning. Take that, stereotypes.
~Seeya next month~