Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dragon Quest goes back to its roots

When Square-Enix announced Dragon Quest IX late last year, RPG fans (especially in Japan) were all atwitter for two reasons: 1) a numbered entry of the vaunted series was going to appear on a portable system (the DS) instead of a console for the first time ever, and 2) the game was moving from turn-based to real-time battles.

Although Japanese gamers didn't seem to mind that first point too much (not surprising, considering the DS is by far the most popular game system in the Land of the Rising Sun these days), they were pretty darn vocal about sharing their disappointment with the second point.

It seems all the caterwauling worked, as Square-Enix officials have let it slip that gameplay has been altered to make it much more like its PS2 predecessor. Sounds like a smart move to me, especially considering how popular the numbered DQ games have fared in their country of origin over the years.

To see how the game is shaping up, check out tres magnifique

Sony hopes to score an ace in the U.S. with Hot Shots Tennis

Now here's a game I had completely forgotten about. I remember when Hot Shots Tennis (er, Everybody's Tennis) was first announced for the PS2 in Japan, but it fell off my gaming radar shortly after that.

Well, it popped back up on that radar earlier this week when Sony announced it will be bringing the Clap Hanz-produced title to the U.S. in July. The real kicker? It will retail for just $29.99! I'll definitely be picking this one up (of course, I'm a tennis fan from way back).

Will Wii get a keyboard?

According to the folks at (who site another game site, which sites a supposed entry in the May issue of Game Informer), Nintendo may be prepping a keyboard for use with the Wii.

As someone who has experienced the pain of trying to input letters and numbers into the Wii's web browser, I can guarantee such a peripheral would be warmly welcomed by the gaming masses.

Oh, and Nintendo, if you're listening, why not follow it up with some sort of stylus or mouse, so you can finally release that update to Mario Paint that so many of us have been looking for!

Super Beta Mario Bros.

Thanks to a tip from one of the many gaming sites I visit every day, I recently stumbled upon a blog that features screen shots of beta versions of various Mario games--including Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario 64 and Paper Mario.

If you're a Mario fan (and who isn't?), head on over to Coin Heaven and check out the images and interesting commentary for yourself. Then report back here and tell me which aspects of the beta versions you wish had been included in the cartridges that were shipped to retailers. (Here's my two cents: I'd love to have seen how the additional "transformations" would have worked in Yoshi's Island!)

Monday, April 23, 2007

NeoGAF readers share import impressions of FFXII: Revenant Wings

Most English-speaking Final Fantasy fans are waiting patiently (or, more likely, not so patiently) for Square to localize its DS entry into the world of Final Fantasy XII (you know, the one that ends with "Revenant Wings").

Thankfully, a few gamers who are either bilingual or are just too antsy to wait for the localization to be completed have picked up copies of the just-released (in Japan) game and have shared their initial impressions on the title over at the NeoGAF forums.

What's the lowdown? Well, it seems the game is quite impressive visually (duh), less serious than other games in the series and much easier as well. One out of three ain't bad, is it? Oh, who am I kidding--I'm buying it anyway...

Puyo Puyo coming to the Wii

I've always liked Sega's Puyo Puyo series. Simple, addictive puzzlers with tight controls and slick graphics--what more can you ask for?

Well, Wii owners who feel the same way should be happy to hear Sega's bringing the series to Nintendo's newest system sometime in the near future. Not much more is known about the game as of yet, though the always wonderful Famitsu has updated its website with a few shimmering shots of the title.

A few more peeks at Crystal Chronicles DS

Whenever I see screenshots of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on the DS I tear up a bit (well, not really) thinking about how great Square games could have been on the N64. Sigh.

Anyway, the N64 is long since dead, so there's no use in thinking about that too much. And, now we have the nifty lil' machine known as the DS that not only has better graphics than the N64, but throws many other interesting things into the mix as well.

Some of those "things" are sure to come into play in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Updates have been few and far between for this title as of late, but with the short gameplay clip that Square posted to its site last week and now these scans that have appeared on Famitsu's website, maybe we're finally seeing the floodgates fly open? Let's hope so.

And let's hope Square figures out some way to make this game WiFi-enabled in a way that doesn't completely suck...