Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth Preview

Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth (roughly translated to Star God: Ruining Blue Earth), a new simulation RPG for the PlayStation is making its way to Japan early next year.

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Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth (roughly translated to Star God: Ruining Blue Earth), a new simulation RPG for the PlayStation is making its way to Japan early next year. Though the graphics are reminiscent of games within the Tactics Ogre or Final Fantasy Tactics genre, the gameplay is quite different, with its unique battle systems. The game is being developed and published by a company called Max Five, whose previous games included the puzzle title Stressless Lesson released in Japan 1997 for the PS.

As the story goes, once upon a time, the continent was divided into four kingdoms - Nightweld, Valaim, Gerald, and Ixia. Each kingdom competed against the others, but in spite of that, people lived in peace and harmony. One day, 15 years ago, the Valaim invaded the Ixia territories. The dark-armored Valaim troops swept across the kingdom and took over Ixia castle in just seven days. The Valaim sought to take possession of the Marcelva, an ancient artifact owned by the Ixia that had an infinite amount of magical powers. But when the Valaim invaded the castle, the Marcelva was no longer there. Because of this incident, the earth, created by moonlight and elemental powers, began to deteriorate and affect the continent. The story of Hoshigami begins with a young Nightweld troop by the name of Fazz. He and his party will journey across the continent eventually finding the truth behind the whole incident as they discover the real identity of the Hoshigami, the star gods.

Hoshigami has numerous characters in the story. Here are four that have been revealed thus far.

Fazz is best described as optimistic, energetic, and loyal - a quality that eventually earns him trust among his colleagues. Early in the game, he clumsily takes action without thinking of the consequences, but later he develops his leadership qualities and becomes the center of the party. There's also Mysterious Girl, an enigmatic, unnamed girl who joins the party after Fazz rescues her. She's described as happy and energetic, with a boyish personality and a childhood filled with mystery. For some reason, a female rogue by the name of Jacqueline is after her. Tin is a young girl who has been friends with Fazz since childhood . Sometimes extravagant and impertinent, she becomes serious when it comes to Fazz. She is naïve, and sometimes her actions lead to big trouble. Raymarie is the last character we know of. He's skilled at spear throwing, but he rarely speaks. He's also best friends with Fazz. His genius skills include the ability to analyze his opponent's fighting style. He is more a brother to Fazz than he is a rival.

There are several unique battle systems in Hoshigami, too. In the session mode, you can treat your enemies as though they were soccer balls. You can choose the wait-session command for your units that are standing by during your turn. One of your units can attack and "shoot" the enemy into the session area, and then another of your units can implement a secondary attack and "shoot" that same enemy to another session area. This leaves the enemies with much more damage. If that's confusing, think of it as kicking and passing the soccer ball to your teammates; the soccer ball in this case is the enemy. You can also use the "shoot" function to push enemies off of a bridge or to open an escape route when you are surrounded by enemies.The session area is one unit square surrounding you in four directions - front, rear, left, and right. You can push the enemies two unit squares forward. If you set up your unit formation just right, you can do combinations of attacks in just one turn.

The R.A.P. (ready-to-action point) system involves the R.A.P gauge and the queue gauge. The R.A.P. gauge indicates when your unit is ready to receive commands for the next turn. This will depend on what your actions were in the previous phase, whether you had attacked an enemy or simply moved from one point to another. The gauge will appear before your move, and you can use it to decide if your actions are reasonable

The queue gauge indicates when your unit is ready to attack based on the R.A.P. system. This gauge helps to determine your plan of attack. Your unit can execute a first strike against the enemies or set them on wait session and implement secondary attacks. There's also a gauge called the attack gauge, which is pretty straightforward. The gauge constantly moves up and down, and you must press the button at the right moment for its desired attack. You can "shoot" the enemy or induce critical hits using the attack gauge.

The game also uses a 3D field map with various geographical and topographical features. You can move seamlessly up and down the field through landscapes of various elevations. For example, in the underground cemetery, you can go behind the waterfall, and another field map will appear.

Another feature, the coin-fame function, provides the power of several combined effects (such as cure), or magical attacks (like lightning, fire, or light). These can be used at long range and at different height levels in the field map. Using the coin-fame too much weakens the elemental powers, however, and its effects may be reduced. Using it too much can also lead to the loss of the coin itself.

Hoshigami certainly is implementing a mix of various gameplay elements with the session system and the different gauges. You will be more involved in the strategy and decisions that you make during the game. Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth is scheduled for a release in January next year in Japan. No US release has been planned, but we hope some company here will pick it up sometime soon. We'll bring you more details as the release approaches. Stay tuned.

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