Tag Archives: Video Games

Audio Review: Atelier Escha & Logy ~Alchemists of the Dusk Sky~ (PS3)

Atelier Escha & Logy_Final Box Art

Atelier: Escha & Logy ~Alchemists of the Dusk Sky~ was recently released in English by Tecmo Koei Games for the Playstation 3. Ray played through more than 60 hours of this Japanese RPG, and Mike sat down with him to talk about what he thought of the game. Is it enough to just create items, be kawaii, or is something more exciting and consequential necessary to keep up the player’s interest? Find out what Ray liked and didn’t like so much in this audio review!

Here are some screenshots and artwork from the game, which is available at most major outlets, including Amazon. (Full disclosure: we do get a little bit back if you buy it through this link. Support the site!)

Interview: Man With a Mission

LA_E809294
Official photo by Nobuyuki Kobayashi

The Japanese band Man With a Mission, best known for their work on the OP of Log Horizon, “Database,” answered a few questions I posed to them by email. Here are their replies!

This isn’t your first time in LA. What do you like best about the city?
Everything is great. The atmosphere, the people, the view, the weather. I love it.

What’s your favorite Jimi Hendrix guitar solo?
The one he did it in Atlanta Pop Fes. The solo sounded like he was actually talking and screaming out something.

Was “Database” written especially for Log Horizon? The lyrics fit so well.
We did think about the message and the concept of the animation but it wasn’t really totally made just for the story. But we’re really glad that it fits and matches.

Do you play MMORPGs like Log Horizon depicts? Which ones are your faves?
I don’t know much about MMORPGs but if you’re talking about what’s my favorite RPGs the Final Fantasy series rule.

If you were stuck in the world of Log Horizon, would you still want to be wolves? Would you start a wolf guild?
We’re ready to get stuck in that world anytime. Wolf it should be.

Many of your songs, like “Database” and “Emotions,” are sung predominantly in English. Did you plan on having an international/English-speaking audience right away?
We’ve always wanted to spread our music throughout the world and English is the most common language. Singing in English was a natural thing for us to do. But we both like Japanese and English. I guess it only depends on what kind of message we want the song to have.

Finally–you mention in your story* that the Principality of Zeon was behind some of the evil int he world. Does that mean one day you are going to fight against them? In a Gundam?
Woah. Do I have a chance to become a pilot? I’ll definitely do that. But I think we’re done with fighting. We’ll stick around and play music to see how much people can assemble and share the feelings we have in music.

*Their official bio notes the following:

In the year 19XX the earth was engulfed in war. Nation pitted against nation, human against human. Every living thing on the planet was locked in a chaotic battle to acquire each other’s wealth and power. In the meantime, in the farthest away land of “Ladyland” there lived a genius biologist named Dr. Jimi (hobby: guitar) who was about to conclude a mad science experiment for a pack of superior creatures that would be called MAN WITH A MISSION (MWAM).

Are they human? Are they wolves?

Their looks may be deceiving and even comical at first glance, but they have incredible brain power and a superhuman physique. Such superb abilities enabled them to carry out the planet’s most challenging top secret missions, and made them untouchable by the world’s fearsome and powerful leaders including Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, and Ivan the Terrible. The Principality of Zeon had them work in the dark shadows of history in various locations around the world.

Dr. Jimi was plagued by guilt and regret that his creations had contributed to some of the most evil deeds in history and decided to put an end to it. He wanted to ensure that they wouldn’t fall under the spell of evil again and so he froze them into eternal sleep in a far edge of the world. Determined not to let his creativity potentially bring more evil into the world the Doctor burned his guitar. He managed to escape the hands of evil and cheat death three times, but he couldn’t avoid his destiny.  Retribution for his death was to keep MWAM frozen under the glaciers in the South Pole. Jimi’s last words were, “I’ll try getting a straight perm in my next life.”

Time passed by and it was now the year of 2010. The planet had gone through worldwide economic crisis, numerous political and social tensions across borders, and was slowly being destroyed by pollution induced global warming.  The warming and deterioration of the planet then melted the icy caskets that Dr. Jimi had jeopardized his life for. MWAM awoke from eternal sleep!

Are they working for justice for this world, or are they nothing else but evil?

Either way “MAN WITH A MISSION” is now back on the mission around the world!

Sony Entertainment rocks E3, declared the winner by the Internet

Editorial

PS4_4_610x407

After Microsoft’s spectacular blunder of a press conference last month, people were already saying that the PlayStation 4 was going to blow away the Xbox One.  And even after Microsoft tried to claw its way back from the hole they dug themselves into, with a decent showing of new games earlier today, Sony took full advantage of their competition’s previous stumble and blasted even further ahead, leaving Microsoft to eat their dust… Gran Turismo style.

And all with just three simple announcements.

1)      PlayStation 4 will play used games with no restrictions.

2)      PlayStation 4 does not have to be online.  Ever.

3)      PlayStation 4 will be $399.99.

It was the first two of these announcements where Microsoft epically opened their mouth and inserted their foot last month.  At today’s conference, they tiptoed around these issues and (smartly) focused on games to try not to raise the ire of the blogosphere.  Sony, on the other hand, while not giving a perfect conference, unveiled the PS4 and ended it with a three punch TKO sending Xbox One to the mat.

The conference started slow, with CEO Jack Tretton pushing the PSVita and PS3. While I appreciate that the PS3 is not being flatlined right away, I found it odd there was no announced price cut for the Vita.  Sony’s handheld is really suffering in sales at the moment, and a price cut would be a push in the right direction.  Also, for a system that has no killer app, the new games announced for it just didn’t excite me, or anyone else in the audience from what I could tell.  Instead, we are told how great Skype looks on Vita.  I don’t want to buy a handheld game system to use Skype.  My phone, laptop, PC, and toaster oven all have Skype on it.  I want killer games. I loved my PSP. I want to love Vita too. Give me a reason to love it, Sony.

After Vita, we were treated to a few fun announcements for PS3.  Puppeteer looks great.  Rain’s design has me intrigued.  And Gran Turismo 6? It’s for PS3, not PS4? Ok. Looks pretty, I suppose.

On to the meat and potatoes of the conference, where we finally got to meet the new Sony Parallelogram… er PS4.  First impressions (other than the parallelogram gag) were it looks kind of like the Xbox One.  It’s a black box.  Maybe the designers of both systems went to the same screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey before they went to the drawing board?  Also did you know the PS4 will play movies, does networking apps, and will do other movie things and blah, blah, blah, blah… SHOW ME GAMES!

Then the clouds parted and a beam of light shined through.  Someone was listening to me.  First out of the gate was what appeared to be a Steampunk infused Zombie/Monster game called The Order 1886.  Just the trailer was shown, not gameplay, but I definitely got a “Left 4 Dead in a Steampunk Victorian Era” vibe from it.  Also, airships.  Airships are cool.  The Order 1886 is part of a reported 20 new Sony IPs to be released within the first year of the PS4’s lifespan.  Some others include Killzone, Driveclub, Infamous, and Knack.

Moving on to the independent scene, Sony smartly announced that indie developers will be able to self-publish their games on PSN. They then proceeded to knock it out of the park showcasing a ton of these smaller titles, each with its own individual quirks and eye catching gimmicks. I will definitely be keeping my eyes on these, in particular Transistor and Mercenary Kings.

Now for third parties, where better to start off than with the current kings of disappointment, Square-Enix.  Director Tetsuya Nomura appears on screen to talk about Final Fantasy Versus 13, yet again.  How many years has it been since they announced this?  I mean seriously, Square.  Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.  Fool me three times… wow, that game looks amazing.  Is that actual game play footage?  Holy shit, is that Leviathan!?  No, no, no, there is no way it’s going to be this good.  It’s too good to be true.  Wait, what?! It’s not Final Fantasy Versus 13 anymore?  It’s Final Fantasy 15?!

Ahem.  Sorry about that.  Slight geek-out.  I promise it won’t happen again– Holy shit, Kingdom Hearts 3?!

And that’s when I blacked out for a few minutes.  I have been a die-hard Final Fantasy fan since I began gaming as a wee little Daniel, but it’s no secret Square’s recent endeavors have left me cold.  These trailers awakened my sleeping inner Square fan and made me feel all tingly and strange, as I’m sure it did to many of my fellow disenchanted FF franchise lovers.

After this, things were kind of a euphoric blur.  There was something about Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dog, and Mad Max I think.   All very exciting, especially Watch Dog.  Then Jack Tretton returned to the stage with his “Eat it, Microsoft” speech.  PS4 will have no DRM and fully supports used and rent/lent games.  The PS4 does not have to be online at all in order to work properly.  There was one minor hiccup, where it was implied that you would have to subscribe to PlayStation Plus to play multi-player games online, but I think we can forgive that.  Besides, Microsoft has done that from day one on the Xbox360, but still, it’s a small step backwards for Sony.

The speech was followed by a long-ish demo detour through Bungie’s new game, Destiny, and then they announced the PS4 price. $399.99. And internet exploded. It was the final KO punch of E3, with Sony knocking Microsoft (who had earlier announced an Xbox One price of $499.99) down for the count.

And that was it.  The execs dropped the mic and left the stage.  Sony was declared the winner of E3 by… pretty much everyone.

But wait… hey guys come back. You didn’t say when the system was coming out?  Later this year, but when exactly?  Guys?  Hey guys?

Oh well, I’m sure we will find that out soon enough.

So, fellow otaku and gamers, what do you think?  Decisive win for Sony?  Or is it still up in the air?  Let us know.  Anime Diet wants to hear your impressions so far.

 

Daniel is also very excited about the announced sequel to Mirror’s Edge, but since it wasn’t part of the Sony Press conference there was nowhere to mention it.

Introducing: Anime Diet Games

Play it right.

I’m pleased to announce the official opening of Anime Diet Games, a dedicated branch of the site dedicated to video games of all kinds! While we’ll always have a special focus on Japanese pop culture, we’ll be expanding into the rest of the gaming universe too with this new section. Of course, if you go to the section now, you’ll see that we’ve always talked about games every once in a while. But now we’ve decided to pick up our controllers and mash some buttons, so we can cover gaming with the same professionalism and brio that we’ve done with conventions, anime, and manga.

As for me—I wrote years ago that it was JRPGs that actually brought me into anime fandom, not the other way around. Perhaps some of you have had the same experience. We’ve already written about games like Final Fantasy XIII, Eternal Sonata, Alteil, and Skullgirls, and even have footage of Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu. The gaming culture is tightly linked to the rest of things we’ve always covered, and it’ll give us a chance to talk in depth about things that matter to fans and otaku outside of just the shows and the cons we watch and attend. (And those cons: the gaming cons, from E3 to PAX, are now on our radars!)

So visit our gaming section at the following links:

http://gaming.animediet.net

http://animediet.net/gaming

Stay tuned folks. We’re about to get busier. As an ill-localized anime title put it: asobi ni iku yo (let’s play)! *

 

Professor Layton Screening at NYCC

For Professor Layton fans in the United States, they are quite well aware that the second DS game, Professor Layton and the Last Spector released on October 17. The release of its movie on DVD Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva by Viz is going to be on a later date at November 8.

At this year’s Comic Com though, 150 attendees got the chance to be present for a “secret” screening of Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, and be a part of a presentation by Nintendo. Why do I call this a “secret” screening, because on the official schedule of New York Comic Con’s events, there was no mention of this surprise screening.

nycc-friday (41 of 47)

Since it was a last minute event, it was still popular enough to fill the hallways, and the event staff kept counting to see if they can give the opportunity to more fans to enjoy this film.

Other than the feature film, attendees got the chance to check out a demo of the upcoming DS game, take pictures with Professor Layton cosplayers, and snacked on site-prepared movie theaters goodies arranged at the back of the room.

nycc-friday (47 of 47)
A significant theme in the movie.

Professor Layton is a popular DS game that appeals to puzzle or mystery fans. From my experience with the first video game, I actually appreciate its thoughtful story line, filled with puzzles to either stump or satisfy the player. Upon solving these puzzles, the game has a running story plot where players would eventually end the game with unlocking the mystery for the good professor and his trusty sidekick.

Not to give away any detail of the film, Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva follows a flashback case that Professor Layton and Luke would find themselves in, dealing with a former student of Professor Layton. The movie reminded me of watching parts of Detective Conan meets Laputa Castle in the Sky with The Phantom of the Opera thrown in.

This movie illustrates a concept of waiting for a popular DS game to eventually make its way into being a featured animated movie. I have some high hopes for Phoenix Wright to eventually get an animated treatment, though the next I heard for it is a live action movie.

Back to Professor Layton though, this is a movie with the target audience as children. However, with the factor that animation movies can also satisfy an older audience, then Level 5 had done a nice job. Also as a follow up to this movie, there is planned to be another animated movie to the Professor Layton series. Before I go off into another tangent for this event/movie review, I happened to have take some images which I have uploaded to Anime Diet’s Flickr account.

First Look Fair: Final Fantasy XIII

Why am I talking about this game on this website? Well, as I wrote previously, Final Fantasy VII played a large role in getting me into the anime scene. The JRPG, especially the Final Fantasy series, is an integral part of otakudom. Plus, I’ve been waiting for this game for months and haven’t been excited to play something for a long time. So I felt it was appropriate to write about this, the first new FF on a new platform, and see how the first few hours stack up thus far.

This article is, by the way, spoiler-free. Enjoy!

Continue reading First Look Fair: Final Fantasy XIII

Tokyo Game Show – No, Not The Kind You Win Money By Eating Worms

The Japan Times Online had an interesting article regarding the attendance and  aftermath reaction of this year’s Tokyo Game Show (TGS).  I’ll let you guys familiarize yourselves with the article before I share my thoughts on it.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nc20090930a1.html

All done?  Cool.

So basically the article points out that attendance dropped by almost 10 thousand people from last years show.  Additionally, the article describes there were no big announcements, no console reveals, or surprise “mega” game disclosures, which in some people’s eyes means it was a “lackluster” show.

Simply, there were no announcements because everything had already been announced at previous trade shows (such as E3), and those products aren’t out yet, such as Project Natal or that Sony motion wand thingy.  And most of the big game companies either have their name game already revealed, planned and dated such as with FFXIII, or they had a game already come out earlier this year, making it a little to soon to announce the next sequel in the chain, such as with the Metal Gear franchise.  Still for a big trade shows like TGS, the big guns would usually have an ace hidden up their sleeve to surprise everyone right?  So why not this year?

Because of the attendance drop and the lack of new products, some people like Mega Man creator Kenji Inafune, made statements to the extent that “The Japanese game industry is dead.”   Is this true?   Personally I don’t think so.  I don’t think that any of this is surprising during a world wide recession.  Less expendable cash means less people able to attend trade shows.  The recession may even play a factor in why some of the big products and games (that are still a looooooong ways from being finished) were announced earlier this year instead of holding off till TGS in late September.  They needed to reassure the stockholders by showing them early in a tough year, “Hey! Look at this spiffy new toy we are working on!  It’s going to make you a mint!”

On the first TGS public day this year, attendance was 62,138 people.  62,138 bodies squeezed together and stepping on each other’s feet in a crowded convention hall!  That’s nothing to sneeze at (and probably a bit painfully to boot).  E3 this year only hosted about 41,000 people.  So is the Japanese game industry dead?   I don’t think so.  It’s just a bad year.  If attendance drops that much again next year, then I think we have something to worry about.

– DC