It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I have a deep appreciation for games in quirky, niche, genres, and also intelligent stories. Frankly, it is rare that I get to find both of these needs met in a single game, but Lost Odyssey manages to do it.
But wait! I thought Lost Odyssey was a Japanese-RPG and thus not really niche? Sadly (in my opinion), the gaming landscape has changed so profoundly over the years that the once thriving JRPG is now increasingly a rarity; One with high-production values, so much the more. Several early reviews would have you believe that Lost Odyssey does something fundamentally wrong simply for being true to its genre. Mercifully, you are reading this review so at the very least let me try to paint a slightly different picture of Hironobu Sakaguchi’s latest opus.
Not to rest on the laurels provided by Baulders Gate and Knights of the Old Republic, Bioware has created another instant hit: Mass Effect. Mass Effect is in many ways the spiritual successor to the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) series although it goes far beyond the capabilities and offerings of its predecessor.
Mass Effect is a third person shooter/space exploration game set in humanities future when alien discoveries have catapulted human technology ahead centuries and given our race a place among many in the galactic empire. Click through for our full thoughts on this stunning game.
When Microsoft executives call Lost Odyssey epic, they mean it. At TGS, Hironobu Sakaguchi announced that his upcoming Xbox 360-exclusive RPG will span four discs, at a game length of forty to fifty hours. In addition, the game will ship with multiple language options, so we know that the insane amount of disc space is going to good use. Gamers will be dreaming of Xbox-branded multi-disc changers when the game launches in Japan later this year, and in the rest of the world in 2008.
This year’s TGS is awash in media from loads of promising Japanese RPGs. The spiky-haired adventurers in Infinite Undiscovery (ouch at that title), The Last Remnant, and Lost Odyssey promise to take the genre to new excruciatingly emotional heights. But the most impressive of them all, the one that may even melt the heart of the most cynical hater of all things spiky and stat-laden, is Level 5’s White Knight Story. Level 5 is the development studio behind Dragon Quest VIII and Rogue Galaxy, so you just know this game will deliver the goods when it comes exclusively to the PS3 next year.
And now we have this video. It isn’t direct feed, runs about 4 minutes long, and Obi-Wan Kenobi blocks the screen for part of it, but trust me…the whole thing is worth the watch. The animation is so fluid and seamless that the game’s battles come across as balletic performances, not turgid turn-based fights. And check out the awe-inspiring transformation near the end of the footage. You’ll be nodding your head wondering what the fuss is, and then the White Knight will appear and you’ll smile and say, “Okay, that was pretty cool.” Bank on it.
Read More | GameSpot
Forgive yourself if you mistake the opening of Bioware‘s upcoming Xbox 360 RPG for an early peek at Ridley Scott’s interstellar follow-up to Blade Runner. From the woozy synth-phonic score, to the pre-credit crawl that leads into the main title reveal, to the camera movements that just feel so right, Mass Effect oozes pure cinematic goodness. Those of you who don’t want to know anything about the game before playing it should stay away from the above video. For everyone else, however, this is a must-see, if for no other reason than it provides us with our first glance at a created character who doesn’t look like the bald space marine Bioware has used to promote the game so far.
Mass Effect is sure to be one of this year’s biggest games when it hits the Xbox 360 on November 20th.
Read More | Bioware
There are six new games to choose from this week on Xbox Live Arcade and Virtual Console, though none of them are original games (which you expect from VC but even XBLA is arcade ports this week). Plus, most of this week’s games are relatively inexpensive with one exception.
Games this week include Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure, Adventure Island, Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Cyberball 2072 and Fatal Fury Special. Details for the releases are below.
Read More | Nintendo Press Release
The long wait for Mass Effect is about to come to an end. Microsoft has announced that Bioware‘s highly anticipated sci-fi RPG will release on November 20th in North America, exclusively for the Xbox 360. The game, which incorporates GRAW-style action with role-playing elements familiar to anyone who played Knights of the Old Republic, has been one of the 360’s most-wanted games since the day it was unveiled. Until now, it had been pegged with the precarious and open-to-delay release time frame of “November.” So the news that the game will officially be here in just a few short months is definite cause for celebration.
Read More | Microsoft's Gamerscore blog
As if you didn’t already have enough reasons to be drooling over BioWare’s newest RPG, Mass Effect, this Director’s Cut video of the footage seen at E3 will make the wait all the more unbearable. Now, stop reading this and go check out the video on the official Mass Effect website.
Read More | Mass Effect
The original Paper Mario – which was a straight-up RPG, unlike the recent Wii title – has finally made its way to the Virtual Console in the US. The timing of the release seems a bit odd – you would have thought it should have come out at the same time, if not prior to, Super Paper Mario did. Nevertheless, this was one of the best games on the N64 bar none, so make sure to pick it up for 1,000 Wii Points ($10).
The other two releases are both forgettable, however. Balloon Fight (500 points, NES) and Silent Debuggers (600 points, TurboGrafx16) aren’t worth their price tags, and by today’s standards, aren’t particularly good. Do the sensible thing; buy Paper Mario, and don’t waste any points on these two duds.
Here’s a quick rundown of what we learned about Hellgate: London as I got a tour of a few levels with Tyler Thompson, Flagship Studio’s director of technology.
Release date: Still shooting for summer 2007 - which, let’s face it, is right now. According to Tyler, “We’re still working for that. If it takes a little bit longer, then we’ll let it take a little bit longer.” In industry speak that means, “If you don’t see it by August, you’ll see it for the holidays.”
Look: Flagship Studios, at its top levels, is populated by ex-Blizzard brains, including Diablo creators Erich Schaefer and David Brevik (and don’t forget Bill Roper, who played an integral role in the Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo series). So, think Diablo, but much, much better looking. Tyler told me that the game is in the alpha stage. I’m used to seeing games in alpha looking a bit rough around the edges. This game was, in the levels he toured me, free of jaggies and visual glitches. The word that comes to mind is “shiny.” I found it to be very reminiscent of Diablo in look and feel. Of course, bear in mind the tour was guided, which means I only got to see the best looking areas.
The biggest improvement in look, and, ultimately, playability, is the improved camera from Diablo 2. Gone is the fixed, third-person isometric camera in favor of 360-degree, fully rotational viewing.
More after the break.