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Jaws drop at first Phantasy Star Zero trailer

The first ever Phantasy Star Zero trailer is so damn hot that Gamekyo decided to reproduce it twice when uploading its video. That's fine with us, because we spent the first run-through simply rubbing our eyes at what we were seeing. Is this the best 3D yet on the DS? It's definitely a contender, with elaborate, screen-filling enemies and multiple characters legging it about on screen with no visible lag. It is, in a word, stunning.

Alas, there's one very small fly in the ointment: the game has been dated for December 25th in Japan, preventing us western importers from getting it as quickly as we'd like.

7th Dragon gets 1st Trailer

The doors just swung open on the official site for 7th Dragon, Sega's new RPG with an all-star development team. This trailer appeared on the site, and though it tells us little about the actual game, it's a classy debut, complete with lots of churches, gothic architecture, and graveyards. The game's chibi characters make a few appearances, contrasting nicely with the sinister surroundings.

Also over at the site, a couple of the character classes (a male Fighter and a female Mage -- remember that 7th Dragon uses preset characters, like Etrian Odyssey) are profiled; you can view the other five classes here.

[Via Siliconera]

7th Dragon is Sega's umpteenth DS RPG

Sega evidently has some sort of addiction to releasing RPGs on the DS, and it's one vice we wholly approve of. Not content with "only" Sonic Chronicles, Phantasy Star Zero, Shining Force, World Destruction, Blazer Drive, and Infinite Line, the House of Sonic has now announced 7th Dragon, a brand new RPG due out in Japan next spring.

The game pits humans against various dragons and other scaly beasties in a battle for the woooorld, and has one heck of a team behind it. Composer Yuzo Koshiro (Ys I, Ys II, Revenge of Shinobi, Streets of Rage, both Etrian Odysseys) is on board, as are producer Rieko Kodama (Skies of Arcadia, pre-PSO Phantasy Star games) and Etrian Odyssey director Kuzuya Niinou.

The latter's influence on the project seems especially obvious, as a lot of 7th Dragon's proposed features are reminiscent of an Etrian Odyssey title. Battles are command-based, characters are created by the player, there are seven classes (Rogue, Mage, Fighter, Princess, Knight, Samurai, and Healer, each with elaborate skill trees to navigate), and the action takes place on the top screen, with a map depicting who controls which territories on the bottom.

[Update: typo]

Source: Full scan from Famitsu
Source: Translation work

It's just like playing the beginning of Sonic Chronicles!

... probably because it's a video of the beginning of Sonic Chronicles! This video is, however, in French, and most of you are probably not playing in French. Luckily, the videographer skips through options and dialogue so quickly that you barely have a moment to make out the bonne idées.

BioWare's take on the long-running franchise is due out next week in North America.

Gallery: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

Bury the Shovelware: Tenchu Dark Secret

The fall from grace. Unless your heart is nothing more than a cold, shriveled lump, you probably don't like to witness a once-respectable series slowly degrade. It's happened to many franchises. Often the decay is gradual, with gamers slowly noticing a decline in quality and is correlated with slumping sales. Other times a single misstep can throw an entire series against the ropes and nearly into submission. Either way, it's never pleasant to witness failure. Well, almost never.

What was once a prominent pillar in the stealth world has been slowly regressing into mediocrity. The Tenchu series was one of the first and most successful entries in the emerging stealth-based genre of the late 1990's. Though games involving evasive maneuvering over combat had been around for awhile, they truly flourished in 3D. From the onset, Tenchu was there. Peered with and rivaled against other top-notch franchises such as Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell, the word "Tenchu" was synonymous with heart-thumping, adrenaline-pumping sneaky gameplay. But everything eventually dies. And the Tenchu series received a terminal illness in the form of Tenchu: Dark Secret. Unless somebody steps in and performs some sort of miracle, we might have to talk to Tenchu fans about video game heaven. It's where all game franchises go when they pass away. All of Tenchu's friends are there, like Golden Axe, ToeJam & Earl, and Ecco the Dolphin (Sega, please prove me wrong on these).

Continue reading Bury the Shovelware: Tenchu Dark Secret

DS Daily: Phantasy Star on the small screens

We've had our (first) gushing moment about a Phantasy Star Online iteration on the DS. Now it's time to think semi-critically about the development. We know that we like online gaming on the DS, and we like action-RPGs on the DS. But most of our ARPGs have been single-player, and our online gaming competitive.

Simply put, will the kind of longer-session multiplayer questing work on the DS as well as it did on the Dreamcast and all those other systems? Do you look forward to that kind of experience on a handheld? Obviously, people in Japan dig it (see: Monster Hunter Portable, Phantasy Star Portable). To us, there's something strange about this style of play on a handheld, and yet something quite appealing.

Phantasy Star Zero site launches, we totally geek out

Sega just launched the official site for Phantasy Star Zero. Although most of the screens on the site were present in scans earlier this week, it's always nice to see them in gallery form, right? (And see them you must, because seriously: this is some of the best 3D on the DS to date).

Throughout these screenshots, we can spot bits of old Phantasy Star Online games (the brightly-colored levels, Rappies, huge bosses, and MAGs), something which delights us. Speaking of which, we really hope Sega-themed MAGs will be included, such as the Saturn, Master System, and ChuChu MAGs that could be found in PSO. Sega included some of its old consoles in English of the Dead, so maybe we'll get to slay dragons with a Dreamcast by our side in Phantasy Star Zero!

The site reveals that the game will support online parties of four players, that characters can be created from three races and 14 classes, and there's also a small section on the ace-looking, sketch-compatible chat system, as seen here. In fact, the only part of Phantasy Star Zero we're unsure about is blowing into the DS microphone to send messages, but we're finding it difficult to object that strongly!

[Via NeoGAF]

DS Daily: Phantasy Star ZOMG

Despite it only existing in scan form, we're already absolutely ga-ga about Phantasy Star Zero, Sonic Team's new online RPG that will use an ingenious, Pictochat-style chat system. If you're as ridiculously excited as we are, then you've probably played one of the glorious Phantasy Star Online titles on the Dreamcast, GameCube, or PC.

So today, because we just can (and because we can't think of a decent question), we're opening the floor to Phantasy Star Online chat in general -- feel free to regale us with your favorite memories of previous PSO games, your hopes for the DS version, or, if you want to be a total spoilsport, how the online games ruined the series for you.

Phantasy Star Zero is PictoChat: The RPG

Sega is aiming to top the excellent sales of their PSP Phantasy Star Portable sales the best way they know how: a Phantasy Star Online game on the DS. Phantasy Star Zero is a multiplayer online action RPG that, unlike Portable, seems to be an all-new entry in the series.

While it's awesome enough to have an online RPG on the DS, and even more awesome that it's the wonderful Phantasy Star Online, the communication feature is the most interesting part of the game: Phantasy Star Zero allows players to speak via stylus drawings. That seems much more useful than, and equally enjoyable as, the Symbol Chat system from the original game.

[Via NeoGAF]

Shining Force to light up the DS

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.

Update: Corrected factual error.

Sonic Chronicles: The Lining Up at the Nintendo World Store Brotherhood

The latest edition of Gamespot's On the Spot show reveals an incentive for Sega fans to get over to New York City's Nintendo World Store: a shot at an early (or, to be appropriate to the source material, really fast) copy of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, signed by members of the game's development team. The NWS will have copies of the game available on September 28 (though the rep says August 29), two days before Chronicles' official release date! Sega will also offer an exclusive downloadable Chao.

Skip to about 45:00 to hear this directly from Sega's Associate Brand Manager, Ken Ballough -- while seeing video of the game in action! Unless you want to watch the whole thing and see stuff about other systems or whatever.

Warning: video (and game) contains Rouge the Bat.

[Via RPGamer]

New Sonic Chronicles video focuses on combat

If you've been waiting on Bioware's Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, then you've been waiting on a definitive look at the game's combat system. Heck, we have! Well, boys and girls, the wait is over. Feast your eyeballs on the trailer above and tell us what you think in the comments!

Gallery: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

[Via press release]

Gaming to Go: Feel the Magic: XY/XX

Everybody loves minigames, right? Right! Sega loves them too, so much they just had to take those warm, fuzzy feelings and shove 'em into a DS cart. The title that came out is something of an anomaly in the DS's library: a stylish and entertaining minigame collection that, now four years after its debut, still doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. Want in on the weirdness? You may not understand what in the world you're playing, sure, but if rampant wackiness sounds like a great way to pass the time, Feel the Magic: XY/XX might be just what you need.

Yeah, it's more minigames, but most of them are entertaining enough -- or just freaking weird enough -- to warrant your attention. And they're all pretty snappy, too, so you could spend your time worse ways whenever you want to game on the go. Sure, you might get a few odd looks on the bus if anyone sees you saving fat people from a massive man-eating anteater, but what do you care? You've got sweet digital love to save, man, so you'd better come along with this week's edition of Gaming to Go and brace yourself for the madness.

Continue reading Gaming to Go: Feel the Magic: XY/XX

Sega to make DS owners beautiful

Click for more screens.

You with the face: listen up. As beings of supreme beauty, we're often asked how we maintain our flawless complexions and glossy, healthy hair. The truth is this: we have no idea. It could be our steady diet of Cheetos, pizza and cereal, combined with the sixteen hours a day we spend in front of our PC monitors, but it's probably all just natural.

For those of you not blessed with such a becoming appearance, all is not lost. Sega has teamed up with Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido to develop Project Beauty -- full translated name Shiseido Beauty Solution Supervised Exploration Center Project Beauty -- a non-game dedicated to the kind of over-the-counter tips and advice you'd expect to receive in any cosmetics department store.

Project Beauty's most tantalizing hook, however, is that it will ship with the sleek camera add-on that came with Otona no DS Kao Training (Adults' DS Face Training) when it launches in Japan this November 27th. There's also a cheaper version sans camera, for all those people who bought Face Training and have had to wait for months for more software that supports the add-on.

Gallery: Project Beauty

[Via GAME Watch]

Musical musing about Sonic Chronicles

The latest trailer for Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood does a good job of showing off some in-game footage (well, it does suffer from screen-in-a-screen syndrome) and introducing the game's storyline. The blurb in the beginning about BioWare's past achievements may help get the interest of PC/Xbox gamers who happen to see the trailer as well.

But for some reason, what sticks out to us the most is the music. Specifically, it's a march. Marches, by definition, are designed to dictate a rate of movement. The march is a fairly average speed, and Sonic is really fast, and -- okay, we don't know where we're going with this.

Next Page >

Gaming to Go!We debate the hot topics!

This Month's New Games

Name Date
Bleach: Dark Souls
Oct 6
Legend of Kage 2
Oct 6
Crash: Mind Over Mutant
Oct 6
Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals
Oct 6
My Japanese Coach
Oct 14
Korg DS-10
Oct 14
Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 Oct 14
FIFA Soccer 09 Oct 14
Populous Oct 14
Rock Revolution
Oct 14
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Oct 21
Oct 21
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Oct 21
Away: Shuffle Dungeon
Oct 21
Oct 21
Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
Oct 21
What's Cooking? With Jamie Oliver Oct 21
MySims Kingdom
Oct 28
Ninjatown Oct 28

Get homebrew on your DS!

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