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Critics' top 10: 2007 vs. kittens


2007 is almost over, and the end of the year brings joyous tidings of List Season. It's the time for taking stock of the last 12 months of gaming, and trying to make sense of it by putting things in numerical order. Join DS Fanboy for our best-ofs, worst-ofs, and other categories-ofs.

When determining the best games of the year, it's a good idea to go at it from different angles: by referencing our own history of reviews, obviously, but we must also look to the wider journalism community. Our reviews, while insightful and entertaining, were not comprehensive. We just didn't play everything. In addition, one reviewer's opinion is simply not sufficient data to make definitive conclusions, even if that one reviewer is me.

So we turned to everyone else in aggregate to see what they thought of this year's releases. We've gathered the top 10 DS games of 2007 according to their Metacritic ranking. Keep in mind that many of these games tied in Metascore, meaning that if we were to rank the games, there would be fewer than ten positions. It's still sequential, but with a lot of tie scores.

We then carefully applied science to these games in order to convert the Metacritic numbers into a rubric we feel more accurately conveys the quality of these games. Head past the post break for Metacritic's top ten DS games of 2007, graded on a scale from adorable kitten video to unbelievably adorable kitten video.

Continue reading Critics' top 10: 2007 vs. kittens

Readers' Choice: The best of 2007


It was a good year for games with titles beginning with the letter "P" -- at least, according to you guys. When asked, you didn't hesitate to rattle off some of your favorite titles of the year, from Phantom Hourglass to Puzzle Quest, and now the time has come to crown the winner. Just to make things interesting, we're allowing you to choose more than one game -- and to vote more than once (though only once per day). So get in there and duke it out, DS fans. There's a title at stake.

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at some of the year's other great games, those selections that didn't receive quite as much attention when we asked you to name your favorites, but all the same, games that are deserving of a little extra time in the spotlight.

What's your pick for the best game of 2007?
Bleach: Blade of Fate
Contra 4
Etrian Odyssey
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Picross
Pokemon Diamond/Pearl
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

Five gifts that PAL gamers should import this Christmas

Gaming sites are inundated with holiday gift guides at the end of the year, listing the best and most popular games that everyone pretty much already has (or knows about). Well, we're not going in for that this year. Our gift guide will help you find the best gifts in categories the other sites won't cover -- because we just made them up.

Nintendo's indifference towards PAL regions is infamous, but there's arguably less room for complaining when it comes to the DS. See, the DS is (and we do not use this phrase lightly) an importer's dream. It doesn't faff around with region-specific software, there's a huge library of diverse and interesting NTSC-only titles, and the games themselves are cheap. As in, cheaper than they'll be when they arrive in the UK/Europe/Australia six months from now. Frankly, we can't think of a good reason for you not to import.

Which brings us to our latest anti-guide, featuring the five DS-related gifts that PAL regions won't be seeing until 2008 at the earliest -- if ever. All deserve to be imported without hesitation, so read on fellow PAL folk, and prep that credit card!

Continue reading Five gifts that PAL gamers should import this Christmas

DS Fanswag: End of the Year Blowout!


It's been a good year, but sadly, like all those other years, it must come to an end. Before we roll out the red carpet for 2008, however, we wanted to give 2007 the send-off it deserves -- and what better way to do that than by offering up huge prize packs for our loyal readers? All you have to do is leave a comment on this very post telling us which DS model(s) you own, between now and December 26. The giveaway closes that night at 11:59 p.m. EST, and we'll announce the winners, chosen in a random drawing, on December 27. You may only enter once per day, and as usual, entries are limited to legal U.S. residents age 18 and older. Please check the official rules for any other questions.

But enough of the details -- let's get to the prize packages!

DS Fanboy's End of Year Fanswag Blowout
Grand Prize
  • Limited Edition Gold DS Lite + The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (bundle) ($149.99)
  • Nintendo DS headset ($9.99)
  • Custom Robo ($29.99)
  • Dementium ($29.99)
  • Drawn to Life ($29.99)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Trading Card Game ($19.99)
  • John Deere: Harvest in the Heartland ($29.99)
  • Mega Man ZX ($29.99)
  • Pokémon Diamond ($34.99)
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (GBA) ($19.99)
  • Geometry Wars: Galaxies swag
  • Dementium skin
  • Pokémon Diamond stylus
Cruise on past the break to see the rest of the prizes!

Continue reading DS Fanswag: End of the Year Blowout!

Revenant Wings flying to PAL regions in February

Two weeks after the game launched stateside, Square Enix has announced that Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings will be hitting PAL territories on February 15th.

Despite the odd difficulty spike and occasionally patchy visuals, the game left a favorable impression on us when we reviewed it last week. Not for the first time, we'd strongly advise importing to those outside the U.S. and Japan.

[Via press release]

1UP Show CX


This week's 1UP Show video ... podcast ... show ... thing-with-people-talking-and-also-footage-of-games takes a break from the constant Rock Band coverage to talk about new games on some weirdo handheld system with two screens. If, instead of reading about Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings and Dementium, you'd like to watch and hear about them, this is a prime opportunity for that!

The discussion about categorizing Revenant Wings for a country with few strategy games is particularly interesting. As is the pronunciation of "Ivalice" -- who knew? The real star of this video, of course, is Game Center CX, the current obsession of every retrogamer who can get it and read the text. There's video! Oh, Game Center CX. We will continue to read and watch things about you for as long as we can. Fun fact: Ray Barnholt, who leads the discussion of the game, is also largely responsible for bringing the show to the attention of the American enthusiast audience with his exhaustive guide.

DS Fanboy Review: Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings


It's easy to assume that the folks at Square Enix aren't doing anything new these days -- after all, usually when we discuss SE games, we're talking about remakes, or one of the many handheld strategy games they've put out this year. Don't let the repetition fool you, though; even when they're treading familiar ground, Square Enix is working to innovate with all of their games.

With Final Fantasy XII, Square Enix took a step outside the box. While the system for improving your characters in the long-running RPG series often differs, from materia to the sphere grid, the basic gameplay has long been at least similar. In the latest installment, however, Square Enix lifted influences from the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI and did away with series staples, like the battle screen, and the result was a Final Fantasy like none before it. Revenant Wings, as a sequel, changes things up as well -- and the result is a fusion of RPG and RTS that, while odd at first, feels completely natural even before the short tutorial is finished.

Continue reading DS Fanboy Review: Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings

Metareview: Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings

Square Enix has been big on the strategy games this year, and Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings is the latest to get the treatment. Taking the spin-off of an RPG in a tactical direction might have been seen as a risk for anyone else, but this isn't just any company -- when they do something, they tend to do it well, and if the scores are any indication, Revenant Wings is just the latest of their greats.

1UP -- 80%: It's an RPG. It's strategy. It's something entirely new that is like both of these things, yet not, and the result is a little lightweight. "Lightweight doesn't mean worthless, though. Thanks to some tough (but never unreasonably frustrating) battles, a healthy dose of fan service, and a quality localization, Revenant Wings is a thoroughly enjoyable hybrid. It's hardly the second coming of Final Fantasy XII ... but somehow manages to turn that into a strength anyway."

GameZone -- 85%: Risky, but successful. " ... the gamble has ultimately paid off, as the game is a great direction for the series, and fits well on the Nintendo DS. While the controls themselves are a little hard to get used to, the game is a deep and complex handheld game that will keep Final Fantasy fanatics entertained for a long while."

GameBrink -- 94%: They checked out the Japanese import, and found a solid, beautiful game. "On the graphics side of things, Square Enix has once again shown what beautiful graphics the DS is capable of with some very beautifully rendered 3D backgrounds from the lush green forests to the bright red heated volcanic caverns. The fun thing is you even get to customise your airship base a little by placing monuments!"

Revenant Wings soars closer to release

With the release of Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings only a month away, it's safe to say that we're getting excited. Any game that combines our love for all things Final Fantasy with our love of strategy is just aces, and it doesn't hurt when it looks this good. Just how good does it look? You can find out in our updated gallery -- we've added a metric ton of screenshots, as well as some droolworthy artwork that includes franchise favorites Shiva and Ifrit, as well as the principal cast.

[Via press release]

New DS trailer blowout!


The non-disclosure agreements have just expired on what was shown at last week's Nintendo of America Media Summit; naturally, within seconds the Internet has become flooded with information about new games. Rather than post each trailer individually, we've decided to embed the newest DS trailers from this event into one roundup post-- because we're Bloggin' Cowboys!

Above, obviously, is a new trailer for Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword. Check after the break for brand new material on Mario Party DS, Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings, EA Playground, Professor Layton, and Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker.

Continue reading New DS trailer blowout!

Friday Video: Revenant Wings soars out of E3

Screenshot offerings were slim on the Revenant Wings front when it came to E3 media, but this trailer makes up for it, despite the lower quality. Obviously, we're Final Fantasy fans -- could you tell from the flood of FF-themed posts that occasionally inundates the site? -- but this game, along with Ring of Fates, is looking pretty good, even when we try not to be biased.

Hey, speaking of, where was Ring of Fates? We could use some new media on that as well ....

Continue reading Friday Video: Revenant Wings soars out of E3

Square Enix release dates: RoF due next spring?!

Square Enix spent the morning revealing its lineup of "fresh new faces and timeless classics" that the company plans to exhibit this week at E3, attaching US release dates to its upcoming titles:
We're jumping on our beds with glee over the fact that we'll be receiving Front Mission so early after the localization was announced, but several disappointing details failed to escape our attention -- Final Fantasy Tactics A2: The Sealed Grimoire, It's a Wonderful World, FFIV DS, and Dragon Quest IX's absence; and Ring of Fates' distant date. The multiplayer ARPG and its DS Lite bundle are scheduled to hit Japan this August 23rd.

[Via NeoGAF]

Revenant Wings 2: Revenant Harder may be coming


We doubt that's going to be the real title, but we never could avoid sequel humor. Apparently, director Motomu Toriyama enjoyed making Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings so much that he'd like to develop a sequel.

This is by no means a confirmation or an announcement or any of the other things it'll be labeled on message boards. It's just a casual statement. But a Revenant Wings sequel seems likely, since the sales have been pretty good, and, most importantly, we're talking about Square Enix, who has kind of a thing for sequels.

First day sales data shows Revenant Wings selling 180K in Japan

Reports in Japan show Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, the DS spin-off of Square Enix's PS2 title Final Fantasy XII, selling 180,000 copies of its initial shipment of 450,000. In case you were wondering whether or not this news is impressive, rest assured it definitely is.

And we're sure those lucky folk who were able to get out to the local store and wait in line for hours so that they could procure a copy are probably loving the game so far, deeply immersed in their title.

Lucky jerks ...

[Via QJ]

DS releases for the week of April 23rd

As you may have heard, there's some serious Pokémon action this week, and the sheer magnitude of that spotlight has somewhat dwarfed everything else -- but fear not, there are other games for those who aren't Poké-fans. Note that we're not promising they're good ... we're just saying that they are, in fact, games. We're curious how SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters turns out, definitely, since we've heard mixed reports.
  • Classic Action: Devilish
  • Pokemon Diamond
  • Pokemon Pearl
  • SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters DS
Check after the jump to see what's out this week in the rest of the world. Japanese-speaking importers, take note: there is some serious hotness releasing in Japan this week, along with 367 other games.

Continue reading DS releases for the week of April 23rd

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