- Persona 5
- Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX
- Dark Souls II, Watch Dogs
- Gran Turismo 6
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- The Evil Whithin
- Nobunaga no Yabou: Souzou
- Super Heroine Chronicle
- Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
- Short Peace: Tsukigime Ranko no Ichiban Nagai Hi
- Drag On Dragoon 3, Murdered Souls Suspect
- The Witch and the Hundred Knights
- Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi
- J-Stars Victory VS
- Atelier Escha and Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky
- BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma
- Hatsune Miku -Project DIVA- F 2nd
- Doki Doki Universe.
- Child of Light
- South Park: The Stick of Truth
- Valiant Hearts: The Great War
- Extensive and inexpensive backlog of games
The Super-Highschool Level Adventure Game
I don't really know how to describe Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukosei [ダンガンロンパ希望の学園と絶望の高校生], a few sites just classify it as an adventure game but for me that is not an accurate description if I had to describe it with my own words I would define it as a flamboyant mix of action-adventure, point-and-click, psychological horror, murder mystery, black humor set in a surreal reality but put my ridiculously long description aside because Danganronpa is an excellent adventure game that will consume hours of life and hours well spent if you are a fan of the genre.
The game takes place at Kibougamine Academy [希望ヶ峰学園], a top high school that only accepts super talented students known as "Super High School Level" students [超高校級]. Each of these top students excel at different fields that stretches from the Super Highschool-Level Literary Girl to the Super Highschool-Level Gambler!! The game puts in you in the shoes of Makoto Naegi, a normal and completely average student, who manages to enter the Academy as the "Lucky Student" thanks to a lottery that gave him not only the right to attend this top level Academy but also the title of Super Hischool-Level Lucky. However, right after entering the Academy you lose consciousness just to wakes up inside an empty classroom, after a little exploration, you meet other fourteen Super High School students who just experienced the very same events as you. It is at that moment that a crazy, remote-controlled stuffed bear named Monokuma jumps out of nowhere before you and your classmates, revealing you the shocking fact that you are all imprisoned within the school's ground FOREVER. But the sadistic bear also reveals that there is one way out, graduation. In order to graduate from the academy the student must: take the life of another student and escape the Class Trial putting the blame in another classmate. Based in what I just described you are probably thinking: "What kind of crazy story is this?". The answer is simple, the best kind. The game is not afraid of being unique, everything on the narrative is deliberately over-the-top with exaggerations present in everywhere, this disengagement with the reality and love to the absurd is really what sets the game apart making the narrative interesting and instigating the player push forward craving for more. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that the story is worth a literary award but it is very well structured and offers a lot of fun with a good dose of mystery which is the perfect combination for this kind of game.
The characters is another positive aspect of the game. At first glance the characters will look like some tired anime cliché but although sometimes they might slip in those cliché they are much more than that they, like all the game, are exaggerations, they are all that old tired stereotypes amplified to the point where they become new and fresh characters with absurd personalities that transcend the concept of parody like, one of my favorites, Touko Fukawa who is a gloomy novelist who suffers with a persecution complex and a multi-personality disorder or Kiyotaka Ishimaru who is a righteous Hall Monitor with an obsession for order. The more you interact and the more you know about this characters the more you will grow attached to them but that is a dangerous thing in Danganronpa, because in a place where murder is the only way out you never know when the character that you are so emotionally invested might die.
In Danganronpa you will basicallly have two different gameplay mechanics every chapter:
The first gameplay mechnic consists on investigation, exploration and interaction. During this parts of the game you will be able to explore the school grounds through a first-person perspective. While navigating through the academy the player is able to control a crosshair that serves to Interact with the scenario and the other characters. There are no challenges in this part it is basicallly here to make story progress but this is my favorite part of the game because it is here that you can interact and deep your relations with the other characters.
The second one is the Class Trials, where the player must use his brain to deduce who the culprit is. This section is divided in four diferente gameplay mechanics: Nonstop Debate, Epiphany Anagram, Machinegum Talk Battle and Climax Logic. Nonstop Debate is the most common activiy here. During this section players will have to have contradictions and break it using the correct argument. Epiphany Anagram is a puzzle section where the player must choose the right letters to complete words related to case. Machinegun Talk Battle is rhythm minigame where the player must win an argument by shooting down the enemy’s remarks. The last is the Climax Logic which is puzzle where the player has to organize all the events at a temporal order to explain how the crime really occurred. The difficulty and complexity of the challenges here are very irregular sometimes you will easily spot the contradiction even before the debate begins but sometimes you will have to put an extra effort to find the right argument to shoot down the contradiction.
Like every other aspect of the game the visuals in Danganronpa are very stylish. All the characters have a very distinguishable design and they are all very expressive too which contributes a lot to the narrative. The colour pallet choose for the game is composed by bright colours and strong dark colours, always using a lot of contrast that helps to create a very special visual identity to the game. The execution animations are all over-the-top, saturated with colours and light creating a chaotic aesthetic.
In the sound department the manages to do fairly well too. The voice acting is convincing and contributes a lot define the character's personality and mood. Although is valid to point that not all the dialogues have voice acting. The soundtrack is decent I didn't hate any track and never felt that it was spoiling the mood but there is nothing special about it either. I works but nothing more than that.
Although I spent almost all my time trying to escape from it I really enjoyed my time in the Kibougamine Academy and I think that fans of visual novels or adventure games really should to try this game and pay a visit to this school.
The japanese game industry is dead. This is something that I've been hearing a lot in the last few years. This idea has been sold as a fact by the game journalists and a few big names in the industry and because of this constant and persistent effort from these individuals a lot of people just learned to accept it as true, but is this really the case? More important, what do they mean by dead?
For some great figures of the industry like Keiji Inafune it is all about big sale numbers. In a recent interview to IGN the developer said "Some developers are saying [the] Japanese game industry is still doing fine, but thats wishful thinking. Words are not enough, we must act and prove it. Unless at least a few titles from Japan make it to the top 10 games of the year worldwide, we won't prove it.", from a business point of view I would definetely agree with him, japanese games are having a hard time to make the breakthrough in the western market but as gamer I just can't accept that. We all know what is the formula to make a big hit in the western market: violent, unimaginative, action packed and male oriented games. Sales does not equal game quality otherwise we would be calling Call of Duty the best game in the world and we all know that it is not, it is good and fun game but is far from being the best that this industry can provide.
I always liked japanese games because it felt different from what we usually get from western devolopers even when the games weren't as well polished as the westerns they still had a strong indentity and that is so more important than good graphics or frme rates. Does the japanese game industry really needs to reach a top 10 in sales number to be considered "Alive"? I don't think so. To be honest I think that if the japanese industry learned how to stay away from the western Triple A model it would be in a much better shape. Look at Squareenix and Capcom two japanese game companies that are adopting the Triple A model and the same two companies are facing huge losses due to immense development and marketing costs that makes a sale of 3.5 million copies to be considered a failure. On the other side in the same country really small developers can publish and profit just targeting a small local niche, I'm talking about the several small studios that develop games for the PSP, games that sometimes doesn't even manage to sell a thousand copies but still manages to make profit. Don't get me wrong I'm not suggesting that japanese developers should shut themselves in their local market making low budget productions but there is a middle ground and the perfect example would be Demon's Souls. From Software had a really small development budget and their sales projections were something around 175,000 copies, but the actual sales were more than 3 times higher than the projected numbers. We are seeing here a case of giant success where an excellent game, better than alot of AAA titles, was able to create a giant fanbase with a relatively small budget. It is clearly showing the way for the japanese developers to penetrate the world market.
Maybe for the game journalist and the big developers the japanese game industry will only be considered alive again when it start to sell millions and millions of copies and make record profit. Maybe in the game industry something is only considered to be great when it makes tons of money. I just hope that the japanese game industry don't try to make a rebirth by copying the AAA businness model and making use of the so overused western safe formula.
My List of Great Japanese Games of 2013
Killer Is Dead PS3/XBOX360
Dynasty Warriors 8 PS3/XBOX360
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain PS3/XBOX360
Dragon's Crown PS3/PSVITA
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F PS3/PSVITA
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX PS3
The Guided Fate Paradox PS3
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch PS3
Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn PS3/PC
Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory PS3
Animal Crossing: New Leaf N3DS
Fire Emblem: Awakening N3DS
Pokemon X/Y N3DS
Project X Zone N3DS
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale N3DS
Shin Megami Tensei IV N3DS
Pikmin 3 WIIU
The first trend that became clear in this year's E3 is the open world trend. It is probably due to the extra power provided by the new generation, it is quite an obvious path to follow, I mean you have extra hardware power so the first thing that comes to mind is "lets make it bigger" and the result is immediately and open world game. I am not sure if this trend will bring us more immersive worlds or if it is just going to become the FPS of the new generation, in other words, the safe formula to sell an unimaginative product.
Open World Games: Mirror's Edge, Dead Rising 3, Dying Light, The Crew, Tom Clancy's The Division, Metal Gear Solid V, The Witcher 3, Destiny, Assassin's Creed IV (Not sure about this. Is free roaming = open world?).
XBOX ONE & PLAYSTATION 4
The new generation it is here and to be honest it looks a lot like last gen but with shiny graphics and impressive big numbers like 1080p and 60fps.
Honestly I don't see any reason why I should be interested in any of the new gen consoles. Games? There is nothing really new there is all about shooter, zombies, racing and sports which is great but I already have it on the current gen. Graphics? I have a PC and I can get better graphics than this new gen so no, that is not a good reason for me. Social features? No, thanks. Kinnect and Playstation Eye? No. Motion controls? No.
Currently the worst console to own the Nintendo's machine showed a good selection of games tha are coming proving to everyone that it's future is not so dark as most think. With Super Smash, Mario Kart, X, Donkey Kong, Fire Emblem x Shin Megami Tensei and others I think that the Wii U will be something that I might buy for christmas next year(2014).
For me it is right now the best platform to own. With Dark Souls II, Gran Turismo 6, Final Fantasy Lightning Returns, Final Fanatsy XIV, Killer is Dead, Dragon's Crown, The Puppeteer, Hohokum, Beyond: Two Souls, Doki-Doki Universe and a lot (really a lot) of other titles I think that the platform still has a lot to show and will probably keep me away from new gen for at least 2 years.
Dark Souls II
Kingdom Hearts 3
Just recently I bought myself a brand new PSP-3010, I know it is eight-years-old platform, my friends keep constantly reminding me of that with their little jokes, but truth be told I don't really care I'm wholeheartedly enjoying it I'm playing it a lot just like a kid with a new toy, in fact the day that I got my hand on the PSP I instantly reminded the day that I got my first Game Boy Color for my birthday. All this nostalgia got me wondering why am I enjoying so much to play such an outdated console and why all the game's news sound so bad for me? I think it might be because I'm getting old.
What I really enjoy about the games that I'm playing on my PSP is how everything is so simple. You buy the game and the whole experience, you have a good time, follow a good story and just don't have to worry about a DLC, firmware upgrade, patches, trophies, DRM, internet connection, or anything. Is just game in it's most pure form, much like reading book all you have to do is focus and let the media absorb you in a whole different world. The feeling of getting lost in an activity is something that I really appreciate, and playing CLANNAD and FFVII on my PSP without having to receive any friend request, message or trophy notification popping on my screen helped to see games again in it's true form that I love so much.
Don't get me wrong I'm not asking for developers to go back and remove all the modern elements from their games. Many of the things that I see as mere distractions or purposeless are perceived by others, maybe by the majority, as advancements and improvements. Games, as every other media, needs to improve and go forward even if sometimes through wrong or dubious paths, it has to learn from it's mistakes and evolve that is why I'm saying that I'm getting old and not that the industry is going to the wrong direction. Although through a more rational position I can see the point of all these innovations and social features I just can't get used to that, I'm the guy that have piles and shelves full of books that could easily fit in one e-reader.
I'm sure that this new generation of gamers won't have issues with all these social games and modern games features and games as whole will keep going forward even if that means alienating a minority, old-fashioned people like me. That also doesn't mean that I will stop gaming is just that while kids from around the world kill each other on their newest consoles with ultra graphics I'll be in my living room playing my old games with my friends.
It has been almost fifteen years since Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue became available for North Americans and seventeen years if you are Japanese, in this case you'll probably know the game as Pocket Monster: Red and Pocket Monsters: Green, and since then the series has become more than a game or Anime it has become a part of pop culture and something very SPECIAL to the fans that have been growing with the franchise.
In those last years since the first versions we, Pokémon fans, passed through 5 generations and three different platforms(Game Boy, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS) and very soon we will be reaching Generation VI and the fourth platform, Nintendo 3DS. Personally, I enjoyed every adventure across the Pokémon world, every time that I was shrunk, every time that I had to choose between three Pokémons that would follow through my journey. Starting a Pokémon game is something inexplicable appealing for me. But even though I enjoyed all core Pokémon games that were released, since generation III I started to feel that the series was starting to lose it's magic, again, I liked Generation III, IV and V but every time that finished each game I felt that I had a good experience but that it could be so much more than that, so I thought about a few things that I think would be awesome to see in future games of the franchise and that would restore part of the magic that was lost.
1-I don't wanna wear a cap!
One of the joys of the Pokémon games, and this probably applies to a lot of RPGs, is the chance to feel that you are part of that world and that the wild pidgey you just caught is your pokémon, so why not let the player create their own avatars? Give the player a chance to build a character that he or she likes, give them a chance to be unique individual in this pokémon world and when they meet with their friends for a battle they won't have to see their own clones or a random avatar of a NPC they will see their friends in the pokémon world. Give us Customizable Characters!
2-It is time to be Global!
Travel through one or two regions is cool but with the current hardware you don't have to be limited to one you can have all in one game. Sevii Islands, Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh and Unova don't have to be separated in different cartridges, let us beat the 40 gym leaders, defeat the elites and dethrone all champions! Create a story that wrap-up these regions together to make a complete world.
3-I wanna be the very best like NO ONE ever was!
Choose between Fire, Water or Grass is basically the only choice you have to make in the game I think it is time for the writers of the series to give us more modern RPGs elements, If a NPC ask my help and I say no I don't want the text enter in loop until I say yes. I want to have the freedom to be bad like Ghetsis and command my own Villainous Team, try to be the very best like Ash or maybe just try to become the very best like no one ever was.
4-Tell Me a Story.
Start a journey, defeat the bad guys and win the league. That is basically the plot of all Pokémon games even B/W and B2/W2 fall in this formula and I believe it is time to step-up. Tell me a interesting story it doesn't have to be deep or over emotional, I don't want to see pokémon becoming Tomb Raider, but make it at least funny give some personality to characters make them feel like unique virtual individuals that you can love, hate or at least relate to. Implementing side quests to tell a story about a gym leader, nurse Joy or any other NPC would give the player time to know and feel something about the character.
And make better dialogues I don't wanna hear things like "Hi! I like shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!".
5-What is Beauty?
The art style is maybe the most delicate of the subjects that will be talking about on this post. All of the pokémons on the games have been using the anime illustrations as a base and there is nothing wrong with that but I think that would be very interesting to see the work of a new Illustrator. Look at the art of various Illustrators on the Pokémon TCG, look at the amazing fan-arts all over the internet! These artists have brilliant ways to see the Pokémon world and I think that new visuals based on the vision of a different artist would give the game a fresh feel that it needs so much! Can you Imagine how different it would be to see hand drawn scenarios and characters like in the King of Fighters XII and XIII or maybe something more like Bastion. The possibilities are limitless!
For me these changes would bring back the magic of an incredible series and make me wanna wear my running shoes and ride my bike through this fantasy world but what brings me down is that those changes will probably never come. Pokémon X/Y will probably be a good game but when I see videos of the game I still have the feeling that it will be more of the same, a good game with a solid established formula but that also could be so much more than that.
1. Tutorial: Some guy gives you an weapon and the tutorial will teach you what you have been doing in all shooters that you played before. Left stick or WASD to move, right stick or mouse to aim, shoulder button or left button to shoot and etc.
2. The game gives you a brief about the story. Not that it matters you are just going to shoot some guys.
3. You are on zone of conflict and you have to follow your AI partner and in case that you get lost in the linear corridor there is a big sign showing where you are supposed to go.
4. AI enemies starts shooting at you, you get hit by a few bullets take cover behind some convenient positioned objects recovers your health and kill a few dozens of enemies.
5. You find a DOOR! You wait for AI partners to take position and press a button to breach it. The world is now in slow motion and you shoot down some NPCs.
6. From time to time something explodes, a NPC shouts something obvious like "They are coming!", "Reload!", " Take cover!", "Throw some grenades!" and etc.
7. Your AI companion are useless and always order you to do something that they could do like: Press"x" to plant the bomb, kill that guy with an RPG, kill that sniper, call for aerial support and so on.
8. A vehicle appears!! Luckily vehicles just appears when there is an RPG or any weapon that can take it down. Also don't worry if you missed there is a lot of ammunition for you to reload and try again.
9. Now you are on the vehicle!
a) If you are the driver you are going from point A to point B in the most linear way and probably with awkward controls.
b) If you are the gunner you will shoot some bad programmed AI enemies that keep getting out of cover just to get shot.
10. Now the Stealth part!! You use your super suppressed weapon (Sniper rifle, pistol, Smg,...) to take down the enemies that your AI partner tells you to kill and sometimes you will even press a button to perform a super cool melee attack.
11. Steps from 3 to 10 repeats in random orders.
12. The CLIMAX!!! It all comes down to this! You are finally going to get them (generic terrorist)! Again the world is in slow motion. There is a text on the screen telling you to shoot or press a button. You press the button! And... Congratulations you finished the campaign.
13. You will never again play the campaign, you will spend your days playing the multiplayer with some teenager in need of angry management treatment while waiting to pay U$15,00 for the next awesome DLC!