Another benefit to being one of the lucky few to attend the Square Enix DKΣ3713 event, besides getting to play new games and see trailers and be surrounded by journalists (what do you mean that's no benefit?) is that awesome exclusive merchandise is available for purchase.
Seen above: two strangely fashion-backward shirts for the very fashionable The World Ends with You. They feature the date of the event and the TWEWY skull logo on the back, and an assertion that "I PARTICIPATE IN THIS GAME" on the front. We must admit that we're charmed by the boldness of the shirt. Sometimes you want to wear art, and sometimes you just want to be a huge nerd.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is supposed to be playable at Square Enix's acronym-tastic event this weekend in Tokyo, so it's no surprise that the company has confirmed that the DS title is still on track for release this year. If you want anything more specific than "winter," though, you'll have to wait; nothing else has yet been announced. We're keeping our fingers crossed for several sets of impressions from DKΣ3713.
Some of you may be saying "Good grief!" or "Aaaaaugh!" right now, but young children and women are the audiences holding the football in the Japanese DS market now, and Square Enix recognizes this. They've launched a new brand called "Pure Dreams" which focuses on casual games for the family audiences. The first two games both carry popular licenses.
Snoopy DS: Let's Go Meet Snoopy and His Friends! is a communication game in which you create a custom Peanuts character and interact with the gang, chatting with them and playing minigames. Pingu's Wonderful Carnival is a minigame collection based on the Swiss stop-motion series about a penguin.
Square Enix is pretty serious about casual gaming in Japan -- this line joins their large DS Style selection in Japan. But outside of Japan, it's still RPG after RPG.
The start made by Dragon Quest V: Hand of a Heavenly Bride in Japan is hardly going to deter Square Enix from releasingmoreremakes (which we're completely fine with, by the way). Famitsu is reporting that the title has already burst through the million units sold mark, a meager thirteen days after it first appeared on Japanese store shelves. You won't be surprised to hear that it's currently creaming everything else in the charts over there.
If a remake of a sixteen-year-old Dragon Quest SNES game can hit seven figures inside its opening fortnight, then perhaps Dragon Quest IX really can reach Yoichi Wada's lofty expectations ... and then some.
Nintendo is finally taking aggressive action against piracy, as the company is suing five Japanese firms over flash cart equipment. The Big N is just one of many plaintiffs in the case, though, with fifty-three others joining in to aid the fight -- just a few companies that you may have heard of, like, oh, Square Enix, Sega, Level-5, Hudson, Pokemon, Capcom, Namco Bandai, SNK Playmore, Koei, and so forth.
While details are scarce, we can imagine a lot of popular carts (like the R4), if not all carts, will be affected. Should Nintendo and friends win the suit, selling and importing such carts will be illegal, meaning that people would have to resort to the black market to get their hands on one.
We understand why Nintendo and other companies would want to fight the good fight against piracy, but we can't help but fret over the impact on our precious homebrew hobby. At any rate, we'll give you more information as this case unfolds.
Technically, you could have seen almost every screen of Chrono Trigger that a magazine or website would be able to share, on account of the game having been released for several years. If it's not an image of the map/interface screen found on the touchscreen, or of the new dungeon, then it's basically a screen of a Super NES game.
However, you may be able to infer from the fact that we are publishing this post that we consider Chrono Trigger awesome enough for us to share screens with you no matter their age. Besides, even after twelve years, it's still a very nice-looking game.
It seems as if it wasn't that long ago when rumors of Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen coming stateside first appeared, querying our next command. But here we are, less than two months away from the 3D remake's September 16 release, and Square Enix already has its marketing engine for the game running. The publisher has certainly done its part to push summer along by keeping the past couple of months busy withqualityreleases.
This week's edition of Promotional Consideration pulls out a page from the latest issue of Nintendo Power to bring you Square Enix's new DQIV ad. Join us past the post break!
The Japanese release date for Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia might not seem like useful information to you readers out west, but the desperate, Castlevania-starved gamers among you will at least now know the exact day their import copy will begin its trans-Pacific journey towards their hands -- October 23rd, 2008.
Furthermore, considering that the US release for Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin was only three weeks after Japan's, we also now have a general idea of when Order of Ecclesia will see its stateside release -- mid-November.
Square Enix hasn't said anything official about the release date or pricing of the Chrono Trigger port yet. We held out hope for a budget price, since it's a port, and since the $20 price point for Arkanoid DS and Space Invaders Extreme, both new games, proves that Square Enixcan charge less than $40 for a game now and then.
Not this time, apparently! According to a Gamestop listing (which is even linked from the site's front page), Chrono Trigger will come out December 1 at the familiar $40 price point. Not that Chrono Trigger isn't worth $40. Just ask eBay!
Square Enix trademarked something fairly odd during E3 last week. What was it? Echoes of Time. Logical reasoning points to a subtitle for Chrono Trigger DS, but with Square Enix never stating the title was temporary, we're left to wonder.
We'll admit that Chrono Trigger: Echoes of Time has a nice ring to it. But, is it really for the DS remake? Or, does Square Enix have something else up their sleeve?
That's The World Ends with You for the lot of you, though any Japanese readers might know by it a seemingly happier name. But no matter what you call it, doesn't that acronym just rock your pretty pink socks? Seriously, stop reading and say it aloud. Do it right now. Let the letters roll off your tongue and perhaps you'll get a tantalizing taste of the title we've been raving about for the last few months. You also might sound a little silly. My bad.
But what's that? You've already played The World Ends with You? Good for you! I might be treading well-worn ground with this week's edition of Gaming to Go, but Square Enix's latest epic deserves mention for one simple reason: it makes fighting fresh, fast, and -- most importantly -- fashionable. Tired of tedious turn-based battling? Tired of donning drab, colorless garments whenever you step into the war zone? TWEWY might be just what you need!
What other game actively rewards you for playing in short bursts? That feature alone makes The World Ends with You an easy recommendation for a gamer on the go. Hit the jump if you need further convincing, you fashionista, you!
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days' teaser website has turned into an actual website now, with menus to click on and everything else you'd come to expect from a Square Enix website. It's still lacking in compelling content, however, aside from a downloadable wallpaper and a beautiful background song. (You can also see the Japanese character profiles for Roxas and Axel, as well as browse through a few screens in the "Story" section.)
The other interesting 358/2 Days news is that in the manual for the DS remake of Dragon Quest V (which released last week in Japan), an ad for the game boasts "Coming 2008." We'll probably find out for sure at Square Enix's DKΣ3713 event whether this is true or just an advertiser's wishful thinking, although it's important to keep in mind that us non-Japanese gamers will have to wait for localization, anyway.
[Update: Everything on the website is translated into English here. Thanks, Monkey!]
Space Invaders Extreme has been out in the U.S. and Europe for about a month now, so if you haven't bought this gem yet (and according to certain chartz, most of you haven't), we can only assume it's because you're still deciding which version to pick up.
As you probably know, the game released for both the DS and the PSP. One of the reasons that certain bloggers (namely, this one) were so excited for the U.S. release of Space Invaders Extreme in the first place was because its downloadable demo for the PSP was nothing short of awesome. You can imagine, then, how torn we were when it came to choosing between the DS and PSP versions of the game. We only figured that some of our readers were going through the same dilemma, and thus we ended up trying out both just so that you don't have to.
If you want to see how Space Invaders Extreme DS and PSP stack up against each other, just click on past the break for a pretty chart and in-depth category breakdowns.
The Japanese iTunes Music Store is haunted -- by a five-track EP. Specifically, the Nanashi no Game Sound EP, a collection of music from Square Enix's DS horror game Nanashi no Game, about a student who gets caught up playing an 8-bit RPG that kills its players.
The collection sells for 600 yen ($5.60) is only available through the Music Store, and only in Japan. Should Square Enix decide to release the game in the U.S. (an announcement whose absence at E3 was felt), the tracks will no doubt show up on our iTunes store as well. Square Enix has several Final Fantasy soundtracks available on iTunes.
Square Enix's latest remake has been on the minds of gamers for a pretty long time now. With it finally releasing, many of you have likely wondered how it would compare to the original, let alone the previous remake, Final Fantasy III. Who else could be better to weigh in than the critics? So, without further delay, let's get to the reviews!
GamePro (95/100) says the game is still an epic experience: "Ultimately, Final Fantasy IV remains the same epic experience it was seventeen years ago, and the DS's improvements are a welcome treat for fans of the series and newcomers to the franchise alike. With an engrossing story, ambitious characters, and challenging yet rewarding gameplay, I can't help but recommend Final Fantasy IV as a worthwhile purchase, especially if you missed it the first time around. Even if you aren't a huge Final Fantasy fan, this is still one fantastic role-playing title worth checking out."
Gamespot (90/100) thinks the game is great, despite some minor issues with the voice work: "Although it has been rereleased several times throughout the years, this full remake of one of the most celebrated stories in video game history is in many ways more poignant and impressive than it was all those years ago, despite minor irks with the voice acting. With a cast of memorable characters and villains, a more accurate and authentic translation, a new skill-customization system, and a few important new story elements that help to better explain key plot points, this is the definitive version of Final Fantasy IV that everyone should experience."
IGN (87/100) is of the mind that FFIV is quite impressive: "It's a rush in the most traditional way, and it's an RPG that makes you feel for your characters, fight for every level, and strategize before battles in ways new role-playing games don't bother to do anymore. For fans, FFIV is an impressive resurrection to an awesome, pioneering RPG. For newcomers, you're about to get a lesson in "hardcore gaming 101," but if you put in the time, and put up with the difficulty, you'll have a chance to really "get" what Final Fantasy is all about."
1UP (75/100) scored the game the lowest of this bunch: "It's not a bad little game -- it is, after all, an upgraded version of a 16-bit masterpiece -- but it's needlessly redundant for anyone who picked up FFIV Advance. Of course, die-hard Final Fantasy fans will want to test their mettle against the crazy-hard new difficulty level while checking out the new voices for old favorites: Cecil is appropriately wussy, Kain sounds as tough as you'd expect, and Golbez now sounds like Darth Vader instead of just looking like him. But everyone else might want to wait it out a few years for that inevitable, definitive next-gen remake. When it comes to Square Enix, what goes around comes around. And around. And around."