Nintendo just confirmed that Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, a remake of the original NES / Famicom game, would be winging its way to the U.S. in the first half of next year, and while that happy news alone would have been enough for us, it's also going to receive a bunch of brilliant, extensive features for its WiFi mode.
Like another much-loved Intelligent Systems-developed strategy title, Fire Emblem's online mode will feature full voice chat, as well as the ability to lend units to friends and have them returned after battles with improved stats, news that is +10 win. On top of this, there'll also be a Wi-Fi store with a constantly changing inventory.
It's been over four years since any Shining Force title graced a Nintendo system (not counting the Virtual Console), since which the series has been mostly limited to remakes for Japanese mobile phones.
So thank the heavens for Sega, which just announced a totally new entry, titled Shining Force Feather, in the pages of Famitsu. An all-2D strategy RPG, the game is due out in Japan next spring, and features a combination of isometric viewpoints (while out in the field) and a side-on view for battles (as seen in the scan snippet above). Best of all, it's in the talented hands of Flight Plan, who last developed Summon Night: Twin Age, which we really liked. Hit the "Source" link for the full, glorious scans and join us in squealing.
The latest Fire Emblem is out now for Japan, which means we can get a closer look at the franchise's first outing on the DS. Not only have we tracked down a new set of screens -- mostly featuring battle animations and menus -- but if you want to get a peek at the opening cinematics without blowing everything by watching a full video, you can check out some captures here. If you're only interested in the screenshots, check out the gallery below. Some of them are full screens (both top and bottom) from glimpses we've had before, while others are totally new. All, of course, are in Japanese.
Both veteran Disgaea fans and new fans who want to experience the series for the first time are getting ready for the release of Disgaea DS. The strategizing won't begin until September 23rd, but until then, it's a good idea for us to know exactly what we're getting into by observing some gameplay action.
We think that the presentation is pretty nice on the DS, and although the graphics may have toned down in the translation, the visuals aren't wanting for anything. As for the gameplay, Disgaea virgins will notice from the videos that while the grid-based style is familiar, the actual execution differs from many other strategy games.
Come September, we're ready to sacrifice hundreds of hours of our lives playing this title. Are you with us?
If we lived in Japan right now (or had enough Japanese skills to import it), we'd be able to play Fire Emblem: New Dark Dragons and the Sword of Light in two mere weeks. Since that's not the case, though, we'll just have produce puddles upon puddles of drool while watching video footage (seriously -- we're that excited). We're sure that many of you don't need to be convinced to join the hype train, though, and are anticipating this one as much as we are.
The two videos (one is posted after the break) are in Japanese, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out what's being highlighted. For one, you can see that the game will utilize the stylus to move around the grids. The announcer also talks about a few of the different classes, as well as features in the game (like class changes), but those are all things that Fire Emblem fans will be familiar with. Lastly, you'll get a glimpse into the Wi-Fi battle system, which put to rest our fears about the dreaded countdown timer. As it turns out, the dwindling clock is only a factor when it comes to online play.
After the break, check out the Japanese TV ad which makes us want something else entirely -- Fire Emblem: The Board Game.
Way back in 2005, Strategy First announced a DS version of Jagged Alliance 2 Gold, which became increasingly vaporous as time passed. Gamefly now lists a Jagged Alliance game coming October 9, from publisher Empire Interactive. It may be a sign of renewed life for the Pocket PC Studios-developed port, or it could be the work of a new development team to whom the rights were granted after prolonged inactivity.
Jagged Alliance is a military strategy game series that originated on PC in 1994, involving player-controlled squads of mercenaries. Not only do the mercs have different skills, they interact differently with one another when teamed up. The player's actions lend a reputation that also affects the mercenaries' willingness to work.
[Update: Eric pointed out that Strategy First officially cancelled all their projects. Either Empire has picked up the pieces or this is an unrelated project.]
Just last week, we found out Luminous Arc 2 was slated for localization (at last!), and since then we've been on the receiving end of a few fresh new English-language screens. We've already slipped in a little humor of our own in our coverage of the title, but conveniently, this time they've done all the work for us. Check out the latest screens while we kick back and relax.
Atlus has also put up the game's official English-language site (move your mouse around the front page for some motiion-sickness-causing lulz), as well as a trailer. Hit it up after the break to learn all about the horrors of anti-witch prejudice, battles, and rings.
Clearing up doubts on whether Image Epoch's bootytastic SRPG sequel, Luminous Arc 2: Will, would ever come stateside, Atlus has announced that it is localizing the game for this fall.
Why would you want to buy a lower budget Final Fantasy Tactics Advance knock-off, especially when you could just get Song Summoner for the iPod instead, you ask? We have an easy answer for that: online multiplayer battles. Also, big butts.
Luminous Arc 2 will retail for $39.99, significantly higher than most other DS titles, but each copy will come in an oversized box containing a CD with selected songs from the soundtrack. Presumably, it's the same CD that was released with the SRPG's preorders in Japan.
Enjoy three video clips from the English-translated game after the break! Interestingly, the voices are still in Japanese; we wonder if Atlus will leave the Japanese audio track intact?
Anyone who's ever played a Fire Emblem game knows that what's shown in the video above is the most basic of scenarios -- a simple battle, with no alarms and no surprises. On the other hand, if you've played a Fire Emblem, there's a good chance you're as in love with the series as we are and found yourself ecstatic after watching this clip, even if it was nothing but a big tease.
The other wonderful thing about this short but sweet video is that we now have an idea of what the game will look like in motion. Not a completely accurate idea, since the resolution is a little out of sorts, but an idea nonetheless. While New Dark Dragons and the Sword of Lightdoesn't include super-wow graphics, we do think it looks better in motion. Granted, the mage is masking his face and the armored knight is wearing -- well, armor -- so we didn't have to be creeped out by any faceless sprites. Even so, we're warming up to the aesthetics bit by bit as time goes on; especially since the gameplay is going to rock us hard.
Now might not be the best time to order a Japanese copy of Archaic Sealed Heat, what with E3 right around the corner and a U.S. localization likely, but Play Asia is doing its best to convince us otherwise! The import online shop is selling copies of the gorgeous Mistwalker-developed title for only $11.90 (plus s/h). The deal lasts until next Monday, too, so they're giving us a lot of time to talk ourselves into it.
As far as SRPGs go, you really can't find anything cheaper! Well, unless you pick up Square Enix's iPod-exclusive Song Summoner for $4.99.
What better way to judge the aesthetic appeal of a game than by seeing it in action? If you thought the "it might not be good" style of Fire Emblem DS wasn't up to your impeccable standards, you can now get up close and personal with the official Japanese website -- and make some critical decisions regarding the fate of that cash roll in your pocket.
Despite the incomprehensible script, the artwork and snazzy designs are easy on the eyes. Head on over to the official page for the standard introductory animations, and the page filled with extra information and videos can be found here. On top of that, extra pieces of charcters artwork are ready for staring at here -- though they won't be official in-game models of any kind.
So, what to do now? Hope that the classic Fire Emblem gameplay holds up against the villified art direction? Pretty much. Besides, we all went crazy for ugly, ugly Advance Wars, so why should this be any different?
While we're still not completely sold on the look of Fire Emblem DS, we have to admit that the screens do the game much more justice than the scans we were basing our opinions on before. While we're forced to sit here and gawk at such temptations, though, lucky gamers in Japan will get to nab this title in one measly month. If anyone needs to get this game more, it's those of us outside Japan who never got to play the original NES title in the first place. Not that we're bitter or anything ... really.
Putting all our envy aside (or at least most of it), we have to say that we're really looking forward to New Dark Dragons and the Sword of Light. While we love the console versions, too, having Fire Emblem back in handheld form just feels right. What about you, though? Do you prefer the series on consoles or handhelds?
In any case, until the glorious day that localization is announced (and the even more glorious day of its actual international release), you can check out the newly added screens in our gallery below.
Out of nowhere, Square Enix has simultaneously announced and released Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes, a new SRPG exclusive for the iPod challenging players to rescue their brother from the Mechanical Militia.
The game has you controlling Ziggy, a Conductor that can create Tune Trooper warriors out of your iPod's music tracks, similar to Monster Rancher's CD-generated creatures. Further integrating your All-4-One MP3s, Song Summoner will boost the "groove level" of your Tune Troopers every time you listen to the songs that birthed the units. Now you actually have an excuse for listening to "I Swear" several dozen times a day!
So, why are we talking about this iPod game on DS Fanboy? We thought it would be interesting to compare this new title against the other portable strategy RPG Square Enix recently released (in the U.S.), Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift.
As we're sure you'll let us know, there are some features that Song Summoner can't compete with, such as FFTA2's 400+ quests and other multitudinous offerings, but, for the purpose of outlining what publishers can learn from a game release such as this, let's look at the five points in which the iPod title outshines the DS epic.
If you have a taste for strategy gaming at all and are looking for a way to spend the entire summer, then Square Enix's latest, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is not only a game with a very long title, but it might just be the answer to all your handheld gaming needs.
But length and depth aren't the only measure of a game. For some the latest Tactics may be a great way to while away the month(s), but others will find the paper-thin story and the hand-holding approach a turn-off. In a field of excellent Square Enix titles, Grimoire of the Rift isn't exactly a stand-out, but mediocre Square Enix still tends to be pretty good in the long run.
Bleach is cool. It's like the cool kid in a playground of anime, and the fansubbers go mental at the slightest hint of a burnt DVD collection. Hey, nothing wrong with that, it's just some bloggers feel left out, having not caught a single episode in their life. So, it's no surprise that the latest trailers for Bleach: The Third Phantom have already been downloaded thousands of times.
The above video is the opening cinematic, which is pretty low-budget and lame. It's a DS game, but maybe the tiniest bit of animation wouldn't go astray. Either way, the trailer after the break shows the real meat-and-potatoes of Bleach, and you can check out the unexpected strategy gameplay in action. Fighting game, schmighting game -- this has evil flying clown things.