It seems Halo: Legends started a trend. Soon after Bungie made their own Animatrix, Stan Lee and Marvel teamed up with Japanese studios to create Heroman and Iron Man. Now Western RPG developer Bioware is collaborating with Funimation to created an animated movie based on Dragon Age: Origins, according to an ANN story.
Bioware is no stranger to using other mediums as tie-ins to their video games: both the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises have expanded to multiplenovels, comicbooks and even a Flash game. However, this marks their first attempt at an animated film. Combine this with the recent news of a live-action Mass Effect film, and it seems like the game developer is making a strong push to broaden their audience. As a huge fan of Bioware, I sincerely hope they can accomplish that without angering their existing fans.
My advice? Don’t do a retread of the video games.
And don’t let Uwe Boll get within 100 miles of the production team.
I mean, first you make Drakengard, a game so bizarre that even a detailed (and humorous) Let’s Play has difficulty deciphering what the heck is going on. Then you decide to make an even weirder game based on the most mind-bending ending of Drakengard? Do you just hate making sense?
Alright, I guess I’ll just take this from the top. It’ll be easier that way.
Nier, in a nutshell, is a third-person action RPG with bullet-hell elements. Yes, you read that right. Bullet-hell elements. Early on in the game, Nier (our hero) picks up a talking book named Grimoire Weiss, who gives him the ability to use magic. The two spells you start out with—Dark Lance and Dark Blast—let you summon lances to shoot at enemies and fire a steady stream of magic “bullets” that looks suspiciously like the ones used in Touhou games. Oh, and the bosses, mini-bosses and some normal enemies fire bullet patterns that you have to dodge, block or negate with magic attacks.
So yes, the combat is a strange mix, but it’s also the best part of the game.
Before you get your hopes up, no one’s made a Touhou-esque shooter featuring Ritsu and the gang. Yet. Instead, Beat Hazard gives you a ship, throws you into a twin-stick shooter arena filled with enemy spacecraft and asteroids, and determines your weapon strength, spread, and re-fire rate based on how frantic the background music you choose gets. In other words, it’s like Macross 7 was adapted into a curtain-fire shooter. As you can see from the video, “Go! Go! Maniac” works really well. In fact, J-pop in general works really well, as does metal.
It’s a cool idea, and I’m enjoying it so far despite a couple irritating problems. For example, Beat Hazard doesn’t work well for every song. Since your ship’s ability to kill things is heavily dependent on the intensity of the music, trying to play some genres will just be an exercise in frustration. Everyone hoping to cause massive destruction with Enya will be disappointed. I also found that the amount and density of particle effects on the screen can often become absurd; it’s a neat visual effect, but the gameplay isn’t fun when I can’t see where the enemy bullets are. Finally, there’s no AAC or M4A support (at the moment), so anything you buy off of iTunes won’t work unless you convert it.
Still, for $10 it’s a fun little diversion that I can see myself consistently going back to for half an hour every few days. After all, I still play Audiosurf (another game with music-generated levels that I highly recommend), and it’s been over two years since I bought that thing.
Have you ever wanted to be a badass with a heart of gold?
That’s a rhetorical question. Of course you have! It’s why Goku is one of the most popular characters in the history of anime. It’s also partly why Yakuza 3 is so much fun. Kazuma Kiryu (that stern-looking dude in the box art) is not your typical ex-yakuza. He’s not just one of the most respected and feared chairmen in the Tojo Clan’s history; he’s also a big softie. He’s such a nice guy, in fact, that he decided to run a small orphanage in Okinawa after leaving his life of crime. And this is where the gameplay portion of Yakuza 3 begins…after about an hour of cutscenes. Yes, like many of my favorite games (Psychonauts, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and Final Fantasy X), this one has a few caveats to its otherwise solid design. I’ll explain why after the break.
One of the latest offerings from Goodsmile is the “Red Rose Cavalier” Seena, from the JRPG game Shining Wind. Before I delve any further into bluster about how I have already preordered Seena, it should be known by you, dear reader, that she is based on designs by the well known manga artist Tony Taka. Know of him? You should. A simple google search will “reveal” a huge amount about this fellow and his art. Explore his world, if you will, but be warned: you can never turn back. And don’t research his doings while you are at work either…be told. More after the jump…
This is the first “real” episode of Bakacast (the chronologically first episode was a proof of concept), a podcast hosted by Shamisen, Ryoko and myself. For this episode, we talk about alien designs in both Japanese and Western media, a point-and-click adventure game called The White Chamber and first Silent Mobius movie. Shownotes for this episode are after the break.
Click the image to download the podcast directly, or subscribe to our RSS feed here.
So, Square Enix teamed up with Pop Cap to create a game that mixes Pokemon with Bejeweled. I guess this means Kingdom Hearts is no longer the strangest collaborative effort in video games. But I’ll put my incredulity aside for a moment to talk about the important point: is it worth $15? Continue reading →