Friday, September 18, 2015

Let's take a few seconds to ogle these illustrations of two of SaGa Scarlet Grace's main characters

Don't worry if this is the first you've ever heard of SaGa Scarlet Grace.

SaGa Scarlet Grace is the final title of an in-the-works Vita RPG that used to go by SaGa 2015.

Which is kind of hilarious, as maker Square Enix recently revealed that game's release has been pushed to some unknown date in 2016.

Not that I'm complaining. I'll likely buy a copy of SaGa Scarlet Grace whenever it finally sees the light of day--even if that doesn't happen until the very last day of next year.

I say "likely," by the way, because some of director Akitoshi Kawazu's comments about this SaGa installment's gameplay has me a tad concerned. ("‘Battle formation,’ ‘cooperation,’ and ‘flash’ will not be a point of focus this time around"? Say it ain't so!)

Also, I believe SaGa Scarlet Grace is going to be a polygonal affair--made using Unity, no less--this time around. That's not something I'd complain about, normally, but considering this long-running series is known for its stellar spritework, and also consider how horribly ugly the PS2 remake of Romancing SaGa turned out, I think I should be forgiven for being at least a smidge hesitant when it comes to Scarlet Grace.

Anyway, enough about all of that. I said in the header above that we were going to spend some time ogling a couple of just-released illustrations of SaGa Scarlet Grace's main characters, and we're going to do it, damn it.

As far as I can tell, the folks at Square Enix haven't revealed who this guy with the oh-so-prominent, uh, sword is, but that doesn't mean we can't give him the once-over while they work up the courage to do so.

I don't know about you, but I think he looks like a surprisingly appealing mix of Vagrant Story's Ashley Riot and Rocky IV's (or, if you're me, Universal Soldier's) Dolph Lundgren.

As dreamy as SaGa Scarlet Grace's mystery man is, he's a pile of horse droppings compared to the damsel shown above.

I mean, who could resist being able to step into the ridiculously frilly shoes of a woman who can only be described as a Harajuku Strawberry Shortcake in one of Kawazu's crazy, open-world RPGs? I know I couldn't--especially when the lady in question has what looks to be a My Little Pony-esque "familiar."

Granted, we don't know for sure that either of the above characters will be controllable in SaGa Scarlet Grace, but I'd be pretty shocked if they weren't.

What do all of you think about these illustrations? Do they thrill you like they do me, or do they provoke some other kind of reaction?

Also, how do you feel about SaGa Scarlet Grace? Are you looking forward to buying and playing it, or are you the sort who would rather Super Glue your eyes shut than play one of Kawazu's creations?

See also: my painfully short review of one of my all-time favorite games, SaGa Frontier

Thursday, September 17, 2015

So, who else is frothing at the mouth over 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, Danganronpa 3, Project Setsuna and SaGa Scarlet Grace?

Why am I wasting my precious free time talking about the four games named in the header above? Because I think all of them look freaking amazing, that's why.

OK, so little has been shown of these in-the-works offerings--one of which, SaGa Scarlet Grace, is going to be a Vita-only affair, while the others are being prepped for both Vita and PS4--so far. Still, what was shown of them during the Sony Japan event held a couple of days ago really piqued my interest.

Speaking of which, here's the first trailer for 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, which is being made by Vanillaware (and published by Atlus, I believe):

And below is the teaser for the next entry in the Danganronpa series (which apparently will be called New Danganronpa V3):

As much as I like the "footage" shown above, it pales in comparison to what's found in the following video, which is of Square Enix's sure-to-be-renamed-sometime-soon Project Setsuna:

Project Setsuna is set to hit Japan sometime early next year, by the way, so keep your eyes peeled if you're even half as interested in it as I am at the moment.

Sadly, the brass at Square Enix seemingly aren't feeling as confident about their next SaGa title (SaGa Scarlet, and now a 2016 release), as the trailer above provides fans like me with a glimpse of the game's logo, two of what I'm assuming are its main characters and ... basically nothing else.

Despite the distinct lack of actual gameplay snippets in this quartet of videos, I'm still very much looking forward to learning more about the title they're supposed to promote.

How about you? Did any of these trailers "trip your trigger"? If so, which ones--and why?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#ADecadeofDS: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

Amount of time devoted to this game since I started playing it a few weeks ago--12 hours, 47 minutes.

Most recent boss toppled, location reached or milestone achieved--So as to not spoil anything for those of you who've yet to play 999, all I'm going to say here is that I'm currently working my way toward this Chunsoft-made game's fourth (of six) ending.

Overall comments on the experience so far--I first attempted to play through 999 a number of years ago. I didn't make it very far and walked away from the experience after getting stuck while trying to find the exit to some room or other.

At the time, I stubbornly refused to turn to an online FAQ for assistance. I thought I shouldn't have to resort to such "cheating" and became pretty disenchanted with 999 as a result.

This time around, I decided to check my pride at the door from the word go, and I've got to say I'm glad I did. Sure, I hate it when I can't figure out a puzzle on my own, but the hatred is softened quite a bit by the fact that checking an FAQ allows me to move forward and learn more about this game's intriguing cast of characters.

Speaking of which, 999's characters have proven to be a real highlight of my first honest-to-goodness encounter with this horror-tinged visual novel.

Just as appealing has been the story that brings all of these men, women, girls and boys together--even if it's against their will--and forces them to find a way to escape the creepy ocean liner that serves as this game's setting.

(If you aren't all that knowledgable about 999, the gist is that nine people, most of whom don't know each other, are independently knocked out, kidnapped and dropped onto a Titanic-esque vessel. They're then given nine hours to traverse its many puzzle-filled rooms and successfully make their way through the ninth of its titular, boobytrapped doors. Oh, and should they fail to do all of that, they'll die.)

Admittedly, I've found some of 999's riddles and berths to be annoyingly obtuse, but even that hasn't done much to dampen the thrilling shiver that travels up and down my spine whenever I gain even a smidgen of insight into this game's goings-on.

Will I continue to play this game in the coming days, weeks and maybe even months?--Well, I'll certainly continue to play it for the next few days, but after that I probably won't play it again for some time.

I don't mean that in any sort of negative way, of course. I just mean that I'm expecting to clear all of its many endings in that time, and once that's done I'll put my 999 cart away until I've forgotten enough of its story to be able to enjoy it again.

Mark my words, though; I'll definitely come back to it down the road. It's quickly become one of my all-time favorite DS games, so there's no question I'll play through it many more times in the future.

Do I recommend it to others?--Absolutely. I know there are plenty of folks out there who have tried 999 and have walked away from the experience feeling dissatisfied, but I have to imagine they're a distinct minority.

So, if the game's premise sounds at all interesting to you, I think it's worth risking disappointment to pick up a copy if you've got the dough.

Next up--Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits

See also: previous #ADecadeofDS posts

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Nichiest Podcast Ever: Take 16

If you need a little Monday pick-me-up (and, really, who doesn't?), you could do worse than listen to at least a few minutes of the latest edition of The Nichiest Podcast Ever.

That's especially true when you consider that this "take" is: a) a bit shorter than usual--just an hour and 21 minutes--and b) perhaps a bit more fun than usual, too.

The latter's purely my opinion on the matter, of course. Regardless, though, Anne, Mollie and I had a blast recording this installment, and I think that comes through in the finished product.

Which games and systems brought out the best in the three of us? Here are a few examples: the North American launch of the smaller New 3DS, the release of Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX in the Western world, the revelation that New Style Boutique 2 (aka Girls Mode 3 or Style Savvy 3) will hit Europe this November, a whole slew of recent Vita game announcements and releases and more.

Sound appealing? Head over to to check it out. (Don't worry if you'd prefer to listen to it via your smartphone or even tablet, as relevant links can be found there as well.)

Also, keep an eye (ear?) out for the 17th iteration of The Nichiest Podcast Ever, as it will include banter about the saddest (because we've yet to play them) as well as most embarrassing games in our enormous backlogs.