Friday, March 30, 2012

Five PSP games you should have played, but probably didn't

Of all of these "five games you should have played, but probably didn't" posts I've written and published over the last few months (here's one about DS games and here's one about Wii games), this one is the least ... informed, for lack of a better word.

After all, although my PSP game collection has grown by leaps and bounds since Christmas (more on that in an upcoming post or two), it's still a bit meager. As such, I've yet to play a number of titles that are included on lists similar to this one--titles like Half-Minute Hero, Jeanne D'Arc and Valkyria Chronicles II.

Still, I've played--and thoroughly enjoyed--enough of the system's retail and digital releases, especially niche-y ones, that I think the list below should be helpful to those of you who, like me, are looking to bolster your game collection in the PSP's waning years.

1. Cladun/Cladun x2--I'm including both Cladun games here because I'm the kind of guy who thinks it's always best to start a series with the title that got the ball rolling, so to speak. (What a concept, right?) That said, most folks--especially those who have been visiting this blog for a while--likely have heard that the second Cladun bests its dungeon-crawling predecessor in pretty much every area and, as such, many probably will want to begin with Cladun x2. If that describes you, and if you're a roguelike novice, I say "go ahead." If you're a roguelike nut, though, and a bit more ... adventurous, I'd suggest giving the original Cladun a go first and then moving on to its follow-up if you enjoy the experience.

2. Corpse Party--I've only just started playing through this PSN-based horror adventure title, but I've already experienced enough of it to know it was well worth the $19.99 I spent on it. Of course, I'm both a horror buff and an aficionado of pixel-based graphics that look like they were pulled from an unreleased SNES or Super Famicom game (always a good thing in my book). If you're not exactly a fan of either of those things you may not like Corpse Party as much as I (and others) have, but I have a feeling some of you still may enjoy it quite a bit anyway.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Goodbye, UnchainBlades ReXX; hello, Unchained Blades

How's this for a pleasantly surprising piece of news: The folks at XSEED Games announced yesterday that they will be bringing both the PSP and 3DS versions of FuRyu's dungeon-crawling RPG, UnchainBlades ReXX, to the US later this year as Unchained Blades. (Here is an article about the differences between the two versions, in case any of you are interested.)

In case you've never heard of UnchainBlades ReXX, which hit store shelves in Japan last summer, here's all you really need to know: It's a Wizardry-esque dungeon-crawler that was directed by Lunar's Toshio Akashi and penned by Grandia's Takashi Hino.

Should that not mean much to you, you may want to check out the following, action-packed trailer (of the PSP version, I believe), which preceded the game's Japanese release:

Personally, I've been interested in this game ever since I first laid eyes on the video above. I'm especially intrigued by how colorful the battle scenes seem to be. I'm also rather fond of the pyrotechnic special attacks that quite literally litter this particular trailer.

Another compelling aspect of Unchained Blades: Although parties are limited to just four human-ish characters (from a cast of 13), players can attempt to convince the monsters they encounter in the field to follow them. In fact, each character can be aligned with up to four “unchained” (as they are called in the game) creatures at any one time, with each monster assisting said party members by blocking attacks or supplying them with special offensive abilities.

One final, curious fact about this delicious-looking (to yours truly, at least) dungeon-crawler: Both the 3DS and PSP versions will be released as digital downloads.

Dear Square Enix head honchos: When in the hell are you going to announce a North American release for Bravely Default?

There are three major reasons I'm eagerly (some would say impatiently, especially after reading the headline above) anticipating Bravely Default: Flying Fairy's North American release.

The first: As I've said before (here and here, for instance), the oddly-named Bravely Default strongly calls to mind one of my all-time favorite DS games, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light.

The second: It also reminds me of many of Square Enix's PlayStation-era RPGs--games like Final Fantasy IX and SaGa Frontier.

The third: The completely lovely screenshot below.

Are any of you also looking forward to Bravely Default being released in your region? If so, why are you looking forward to it?


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward edition)

A little disclaimer before I continue on with this post: I'm really happy--ecstatic, even--that someone (Aksys) decided to bring Chunsoft's Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die to the North American market.

That said, I'm not as happy with the name they chose for this particular localization: Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. (Pre-order the 3DS version here and the Vita version here.) A much more appealing one, in my humble opinion, would have been something like Zero Escape: Good People Die.

Another aspect of this localization that I'm far from ecstatic about: Its cover art. Why? Well, take a look at the game's North American box art:

And then compare it to the art that graced the cover of the Japanese iteration, which was released on Feb. 16:

As I said in this previous post, I consider the latter to be one of the best examples of 3DS cover art. The former? Not even in the same league--thanks in part to its scrunching of Kinu Nishimura's beautiful illustration and thanks in part to its use of, as the guys at call it, "the TurboGrafx-16 font."

All of the above is just my opinion, of course. What's yours?

See also: Previous 'Which Box Art is Better?' posts

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

No, wait, *this* is the dreamiest Dreamcast ever

Just over a month ago, I proclaimed the Space Channel 5-themed Dreamcast that served as the centerpiece of this post to be the dreamiest Dreamcast ever produced.

Well, after seeing the Jet Set Radio-branded Dreamcast in the photo below (and here), I'm no longer so sure about that proclamation.

Granted, I would happily and greedily accept either of these Oskunk-painted Dreamcasts from anyone willing to give me one, but if I were given a choice I'd probably go with the one you see above.

How about you? Which one do you prefer? (Can't make up your mind based on the photos seen in this post and in this previous post? More snapshots of both of these custom-painted systems can be found here and here.)

1oddgent's Boo, Kirby and Tron stickers

In an effort to thank me for mentioning him and his art on this blog on a few occasions, artist Dan Taub (aka 1oddgent) recently sent me a pack of stickers featuring some of his awesome creations.

The subject of leftmost sticker in the image below isn't a character from a video game, although I could see him being one. (He'd seem especially at home in a brain-training or puzzle game, don't you think?) The subjects of the remaining two stickers, on the other hand, should be instantly recognizable--despite their somewhat abstract redesigns.

For those of you who are scratching your heads: Boo from the Super Mario Bros. series is the subject of the sticker in the upper-right corner of the image above, while Kirby is the focus of the bottom-most sticker.

Taub also sent me the Tron-inspired sticker seen below. I especially like the pink "1UP" that's stamped on the gal's/guy's/thing's helmet.

All of the stickers above have been printed on white vinyl sticker paper and are about three inches square. Well, except for the Tron-inspired one, which is about three-and-a-half inches by four-and-a-half inches.

If you know a surface that's just begging to be plastered with a bunch of awesome stickers, hop on over to the 1oddgent etsy shop and pick up a pack or two (or three).

See also: 'Boo-tiful, just boo-tiful' and 'I love air, too, Susumu Hori'

Monday, March 26, 2012

The cutest Kirby drawing ever

I don't know if you're aware, but I've become a huge Kirby fan in the last year or two--ever since I played (and enjoyed the hell out of) Kirby's Epic Yarn. (Buy it here if you haven't already done so.)

As such, I practically melted in my seat when I came across the absolutely adorable illustration below while perusing the awesome Games With Boys tumblog a few days ago.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you who produced this wonderful drawing. I can tell you, though, where he/she first shared it:

See also: More Kirby's Epic Yarn and Kirby's Return to Dream Land posts

Sunday, March 25, 2012

'Alien Goose of Love'

What's an "alien goose of love," you ask? Why, it's the ... thing showcased in the image below (as well as here), that's what it is.

Also, it's a small part of a collage that Atlanta-based artist Ashley Anderson is working on for Young Foxy & Free.

Anderson recently took to Facebook to comment on this much-anticipated (by me, at the very least) project:

"This constitutes about one-sixth of a collage I've been working on for Young Foxy & Free. If you like this, you will have an absolute conniption at the sight of the whole thing!"

The cropped image above is the "this" Anderson is talking about in his Facebook quote, by the way.

Anyway, keep an eye on this blog--or on Anderson's blog, Facebook page or Flickr photostream--for more information on this sure-to-be-intriguing piece of art.