Game name: King of Dreams
Story: You wake up on a bench in Narita airport. A 12-year-old child is with you-YOUR child. Their other parent is nowhere to be seen. Suddenly you remember why you are there: you were on your way to visit your spouse, who has been working in Japan for the past six months, when suddenly a news report of some unknown disaster came in on the in-flight television. Then, the news blacked out, and when you arrived, the airport was in lockdown. It's been twelve hours, and your spouse is nowhere to be seen. You decide to take your child out into the world and find out what happened. It turns out, some unknown force is bringing peoples' dreams to life. At first, it's not too noticeable--the culture shock make Japan seem strange enough as-is; statues dressed with real clothes, streets with decorative fountains running down the sidewalk, miniature replicas of the Empire State Building used as streetlamps (yes, these are all real things that actually exist in Japan--and these are the tamer elements). But as you get used to traveling around, you realize that something isn't right--no one will talk to you, and the few Japanese who exhibit their famed helpfulness leave you with dire warnings to leave this place and go home, or you will be doomed along with everyone else. The weather, too, is strange, and the sights don't match at all with the images you see on posters and in books you find. That's when things start coming to kill you. In the first battle, you are rescued by Clorio, a tall man with spiky blonde hair, blue eyes, a red hat, overalls, and a sword wrapped in gauze. However, before he can get to them, your child is kidnapped by voracious green reptiles that spit exploding eggs. Clorio disappears, revealing a frail, wheelchair-bound teenager who has extraordinary powers of the mind. The true Clorio explains that something is bringing people's dreams to life and twisting them into horrific monsters, but those who realize this can use this power to their advantage, to survive. Clorio agrees to help you find your child and your spouse, and to help you escape the ruined country. Meanwhile, your child awakes in a jail cell, along with their cellmate Alfonso. Alfonso, a soldier from an American navy base that was overrun by monsters, explains that something terrible has happened, but it is definitely not a natural event. From what the guards have mentioned while the child was asleep, he/she is an extremely important part of a shadowy master's plans. Alfonso agrees to break him out, as long as the child promises to help him stop the madness. As they break out, they encounter Alan, another soldier from the base, one more skilled with mechanical inventions and computers. With his help, they find out that hidden devices across the country are generating psychic frequencies that drain the people of their dreams and feed them into a central generator, which transforms them into real, physical manifestations completely loyal to their shadowy overlord and ready to help him further his plans. Just then, they are detected, and must make their escape. You enter an abandoned U.S. Navy base with Clorio, where you must fight through monsters as well as ghosts of the past in the form of ghostly WWII soldiers in the midst of a terrible battle. Neither side is hostile to you, but if you aren't careful you can easily get caught in the crossfire, especially with web-traps laid by cybernetic spider-monsters hidden about the area. With the help of Nami, a member of the JMSDF, you must search the base for clues and intelligence as to what happened. These clues indicate strange behavior among several prominent leaders and scientists in Yokohama, which leads you northward. However, that's when the monsters attack in force, trapping citizens in their homes and killing anyone unlucky enough to get in the way. You head for Clorio's home, only to see the building leveled and his parents murdered in front of your eyes. That's when Ryu, leader of the resistance, comes to your aid, taking you to their base beneath the streets of Yokosuka... As the story goes on, you must fight back the abominations through either strength or clever problem-solving (a la Knights of the Old Republic, with a bit of Jedi Knight-esque puzzle-solving), as you travel across Japan in search of your spouse and your child. Meanwhile, your child must gather allies and destroy the monsters' means of attack. Both paths involve recruiting new allies by completing quests, as well as characters who leave one party and end up joining the other (though the core characters listed below (except Ryu) will stay with the character they are first introduced to). Ending: SPOILER!!!!
Midway through the story, Alfonso is revealed as the leader of the Nightmare army, who allowed the child to escape in order to further their mental powers, which are the key to his becoming all-powerful. Once the child reached their full potential, Alfonso would brainwash them and use them in conjunction with the dream machine to make their wishes come true. HOWEVER!! Once the main character and their child reunite, it is revealed that Alfonso had been possessed by an ancient demon, who fed on his nightmares to create the whole scheme, and that Alfonso himself truly wishes to repair the damage "he" had caused. It turns out that the demon is trying to free itself from the underworld, but even with the power of dreams at his command he needs to bind himself to a human form to remain in this realm. Alfonso was a useful pawn, but his weak mind powers makes him a poor choice for a permanent form. The child, with his/her extreme mind powers would be a good choice, but the power of dreams is diminished by an impure heart; however, your character's abducted spouse, whose line gave your child their powers, is a much better choice, having decent powers of the mind but a heart damaged by the evils of the adult world. In the end, Alfonso re-binds himself to the demon and tries to sacrifice himself to stop it, but by then the demon is too powerful, and, anchored to this world by the paralyzed Alfonso and your imprisoned spouse, the demon attacks your combined party (this is the only time you can replace fallen party members during a battle, as if your party drops below the normal 3 another character replaces them). After an intense battle, your party is on the brink of defeat, but the power of belief your party has in you allows you and your child to reach your spouse's mind and, with their help, you release the demon's grasp on them. The demon is sealed within Alfonso's body and, rather than risk the demon escaping to wreak havoc once more, he throws himself into the underworld, to prevent the demon from repeating the scheme with another unsuspecting victim. A moment later, he turns around and shatters the gateway into a thousand pieces, which slowly melt away. As the credits roll, your reunited family and the rest of the party oversee the reconstruction of Japan--using the power of the dream device for good. But after the credits, a boy discovers a small, dark fragment of stone with a glowing spark within, and decides to take it home... Starting characters: You can choose to be either male or female, but the game plays pretty much the same way either way. You also choose their child's gender, which has a slight effect on who joins the party when. * You: You choose your name, appearance, and gender. Your stats depend on your job: programmer (low strength, medium mind skills, high mechanical skills), actor (medium strength, high mind skills, low mechanical skills), reporter (low strength, high mind skills, medium mechanical skills), and soldier (high strength, low mind skills, medium mechanical skills) being three potential choices. However, your character won't engage in a lot of combat, as your path involves seeking the truth behind your spouse's disappearance and rescuing your child from the machinations of the Nightmare Army. * Your child (Sophia/Michael): As mentioned above, you can choose your child's gender, but not their name. Your child's "cla ss" is complementary to your own; however, they always start with low strength and mechanical skills for their cla ss but extraordinary mind skills. *Clorio: Clorio is a master of the mind powers that have been granted to the Japanese as a result of the disaster. His alter ego, generated from his Internet avatar, is a cross between Cloud and Mario, and its strength makes up for his weak physical skills. (Str 4, Dex 9, Con 2, Int 8, Wis 17, Cha 15) * Alfonso: Alfonso is a soldier, strong enough to challenge any monster one-on-one. Unfortunately, he lacks in mind power and mechanical aptitude, something he must rely on other party members for. (Str 15, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 5, Wis 4, Cha 7) * Alan: A good buddy of Alfonso, trained in espionage. He seems oddly suspicious of Alfonso at first, but is glad to meet his friend again after several months. Moderately strong and mediocre in powers of the mind, he is most skilled in accessing locked doors and other such obstacles. One of the more balanced characters in the game (Str 9, Dex 14, Con 7, Int 14, Wis 7, Cha 3) *Satomi: Love interest for Michael. She joins the party in Akihabra if Michael is the child character, or can be recruited in Shinagawa as part of a side quest if Sophia is the child character. Regardless, Satomi has decent mind and mechanical skills but lacks in strength. (Str 6, Dex 9, Con 5, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 14) *Gaku: Love interest for Sophia. He joins the party in Akihabra if Sophia is the child character, or can be recruited in Shinagawa as part of a side quest if Michael is the child character. Regardless, Gaku has decent mechanical and mind skills but lacks in strength. (Str 5, Dex 12, Con 6, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 13) *Nami: A member of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Nami provides some needed strength to the player's party early in the game. She is also well-balanced. (Str 12, Dex 12, Con 8, Int 8, Wis 8, Cha 12) *Ryu: Ryu is the leader of the resistance, and interects frequently with both parties. Due to the frequent but brief contact he has with them and the surrounding chaos, it is some time before he realizes that Michael/Sophia is your character's child. Ryu is the best-balanced character in the game, even more so than a perfectly balanced player character; however, he is only playable for certain segments. His stats cannot be upgraded (unlike other characters), but upgrade automatically between appearances. (Note: the stats listed are his starting stats from his first appearance, but follow the same pattern as they increase throughout the game.) (Str 13, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 13) Systems: Steam (PS3/PC/Mac), Live (Xbox360/PC), WiiU. The WiiU version has special features relating to the screen on the controller, though co-op multiplayer missions can occur using a DSi or DSi3D as a controller (an alternative to buying a second WiiU controller). Depending on Microsoft software development, a similar feature may be available to Xbox players with Windows-enabled phones. King of Dreams is not compatible with the Xbox Kinect or the PlayStation Move, though online multiplayer missions can utilize the Kinect for video chat. Enemy examples: Dyosha: Dyosha are scaly green reptiles with six spindly legs and long, whiplike tails. The first version is quick but weak, and a few blows can take them out. They attack in packs, however, and spit yellow "eggs" covered in green veins that explode on contact. Other versions add spikes to their tails, and some can grab party members and drag them off, separating them from the rest of the group and thus putting them in more danger. The toughest version requires use of certain Dream Powers to make them raise their armor to attack, allowing other party members to use their skills and/or Dream Powers to attack. Spidrorgs: Spidrorgs are tough, but mostly just annoying. Their bites don't cause much damage (though tougher versions may cause poisoning), but they are well-armored and deploy sticky spiderwebs around the area. A few can even leap into the air and turn themselves into spinning buzzsaws, though they can easily be dispatched by certain Dream Powers. All Spidrorgs are weak to Dream Powers, and most have a weak spot at the rear. Swordmantula: This miniboss consists of a series of swords connected by bandages. It can attack with an earthquake, eyebeams, or even just the swords that make up its legs and fangs. It is fast and tough, and has few weaknesses. Fire-based attacks will set it ablaze, causing constant damage every round, but it can still attack. Since it takes sixteen rounds for a swordmantula to burn to death, a concerted offensive is your best option for survival.
Gameplay: King of Dreams plays like a cross between Magica and Knights of the Old Republic, with platforming elements and puzzles from the Jedi Knight series added for good measure. Though battles are turn-based (a la KotOR), tactical positioning has a definite effect on battle (revealing weak points and other attack options), and Paper Mario/Mario and Luigi-sty leaction commands allow for other variations on basic attacks. Characters with high Wisdom and Charisma scores can use Dream Powers as an alternate means of attack, and certain creatures can only be affected by Dream Powers. Characters with higher stats in Dexterity and Intelligence can improvise weapons from inventory items, and can use certain mechanical skills on mechanical and computerized monsters (such as locating a monster's power source and unplugging it, or reprogramming a computerized monster to fight alongside you temporarily). Of course, all characters can also use environmental hazards (such as cliff edges and operable machinery) to their advantage as well, but beware: some of the tougher enemies can do the same thing to you! Why you should play this game: Even in spite of all the supernatural and otherwise unrealistic elements of this game, the setting in general IS Japan. All around are bits of information about Japan, and playing the game is intended to be the next best thing to actually visiting. Additionally, King of Dreams combines the best elements of KotOR (deep storyline, well-written dialogue and character interaction, etc.) with the best elements of the Jedi Knight series (puzzle platforming at its best), and it's not afraid to make fun of itself at the times it doesn't make sense. And, if that's not enough, the music in the game is entirely from authentic Japanese bands, further immersing you in the cultural experience. In short, King of Dreams deconstructs the traditional JRPG, reconstructs it, and fills in the gaps with the unique cultural experience that is Japan. What more could you ask for?!