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  1. Have you ever spent a few years away from home, only to come back and see everything was exactly the way you left it? If you have, then you know about that warm fuzzy feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, and the waves of nostalgia that wash over you are some of the best/strangest feelings you can hope to feel. The good thing is, you don't have to leave home for years on end to get that feeling. In fact, you don't even have to leave your house at all! The only requirements are that you stop playing some of your favorite games for a few months. And if you're like me, that's more than an easy task to fulfill. Alright, now that a few months have passed, let's talk about some of the comfiest places in gaming. The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker: Outset Island To be completely honest, you could get the feeling of nostalgia and comfort from any one of the many 3D Zelda games currently on the market. You could even feel comfortable in Clocktown (in Majora's Mask), despite the fact that a creepy giant faced moon was hurtling itself towards the town from the very start of the game. But none of these towns compare to Outset Island, the starting area in The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker. The colors! I can see all of them! While quite a few people had trouble getting into the game due to it's cartoon-y cell-shaded art style, I feel that it cemented itself in people's memory thanks to just how comfortable everything looked. That first hour or two of the game made everything seem so nice and peaceful that the moment things actually turned bad, it felt like the rug got pulled out from beneath you. But that didn't ruin the relative safety of the island. And now that it's been remade for the Wii-U in glorious HD, we can all go back to Outset Island once again and feel all comfy and safe, at least until a giant bird totally ruins Link's birthday and forces him to go on a quest that ends with a sword in somebody's head. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: Balmora When you first stepped off of that ship and into the waiting arms of Fargoth in the city of Seyda Neen, you probably followed the exact same path that I did. First and foremost, steal that platter worth six hundred gold. Secondly, rob Fargoth blind. And then finally travel to the next closest city, Balmora. This is where the game really got exciting for me. I'm going to rob this place completely blind Seyda Neen was a backwater town so small that I could see the exit of the city while standing in the entrance. But Balmora was huge, and it was alive. People walking to and from their places of work. Buildings lined the streets, filled with so many things for me to steal. Back alleys lead to houses containing murder mysteries and others with huge rat problems. This was where Morrowind truly started, and I had no idea what to do. Anyone who played the game can probably describe Balmora to you in deep detail. You have the large river cutting through the town, the line of stores with the back alley slums behind them and then the religious buildings near the top of the city limits. It's hard to understand why, but this city was just home for me and most other people during their travels. No matter what happened, Balmora was always waiting for you. Animal Crossing: Your Town I didn't buy a Gamecube until the Wii was released onto the market. I have no idea why that was, but it just turned out that way. The first three games I got with it were Wind Waker, the Zelda promotional disc and Animal Crossing. It cost me $25 total and was a pretty great deal. I originally got Animal Crossing because I thought it would be something fun for the kids to play, but I quickly learned otherwise. Yeah, looks like I'm buying another 3DS game What was supposed to be a game for the kids to play ended up being an obsession for me. I would sit up late at night, pounding my shovel into my neighbor's doors. They of course wouldn't answer the door since it was well past three in the morning, but that didn't mean I couldn't send them threatening letters. And I sent plenty of those. Despite how much of a serial killer I tried to be, I still ended up falling in love with the town and its many animal inhabitants. Something about playing a game where you live in a cartoon town just managed to get to me. I still occasionally load up my original Gamecube save to check up on my town from time to time. I even feel kind of sad when I see someone has moved away. Animal Crossing became my digital home away from home, and all it took was a few late nights of harassing my neighbors. Everywhere In Ni No Kuni When I bought Ni No Kuni, I knew exactly what i was getting into. I've been a fan of Miyazaki's work ever since I sat down and watched the movie Lupin the 3rd: Castle of Cagliostro. If you haven't seen it, then you need to right now. I don't care if you're at work. You need to watch it now. Once you've seen the movie you'll understand the main draw of Miyazaki's movies, and that is their extremely soft and welcoming appearance. And Ni No Kuni matched studio Ghibli's style perfectly. Everything about this game just makes you feel good No matter where I was standing or what I was doing, everything just felt simple and happy. I could have been fighting the Devil and I still would have thought, "Well this place is quaint." The game's style is just that rich. Even from the start of the game you're being bombarded with that sweet, sweet small town feel. It was so great that I didn't mind the game clocked in at around 70 hours; I actually didn't want it to end. You watch Castle of Cagliostro and play this game now. You'll regret neither choice. Catherine: The Stray Sheep Bar I pre-ordered the game Catherine before it came out. Do you know why I would preorder a $60 Japanese puzzle game over all of the other big titles releasing around that same time? Because I knew it would be good, that's why. You just don't turn down a good puzzle game, and you certainly don't turn down a sci-fi horror love story either. Because of all these factors I simply couldn't turn down, Catherine was as good as bought. And you know what? I loved the game! They gave me a trophy as a monument to the time I wasted here But not just for its mind bending puzzles and absolutely crazy story. I mean, they were certainly the main reasons I enjoyed the game so much. But I'd be a foolish fool if I were to ignore the Stray Sheep Bar, an area in the game where you're free to talk with random patrons, order food and drinks, play games and even listen to the jukebox without any worry of something bad happening to you. For the most part anyways. Later on in the game you'll start dealing with some pretty freaky things no matter where you're located, but during the first week or so of the game, there was no better place than the Stray Sheep. I once spent a solid hour playing the arcade game located at the back of the bar just because, and when I finished I went over to the jukebox and I jammed. What other puzzle game can boast of such a feat? Certainly none that I know of. These are just five of my favorite areas from some recently released games (and not so recently released). But now I wonder, what are some of your favorite areas of relaxation in the game world? Why not describe them to me in the comments below? As always, thank you for reading.
  2. Much to the disappointment of doomsday-preppers everywhere, the end of the year has finally reached us and we're all still kicking around. You know what that means! That's right, you get to watch me desperately try to think up ten different games that came out this year that I can remember liking. I knew what my choice for game of the year would be weeks in advance, but the other nine spots were a nightmare battlefield to choose the games that were almost the best, but just didn't quite have what it took. A special note to all of the great games I haven't played this year - games such as Metal Gear Rising and Dragon's Crown. The only reason you aren't on this list right now is because I just haven't gotten around to playing you. But I'm sure someone will take you in and give you the praise you probably deserve. 10. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 I don't watch anime much anymore. I simply don't have the time unless it is something I really feel the need to watch. Naruto is not on that list of must-watch shows. But the games, great golly gosh are they just swell. At least, most of them are. Last year saw the release of Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm: Generations, a game that was clearly rushed out the door missing some of the series best features and gimmicks. It was awful and had no right to be on my shelf. But Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 was a return to form with the game's huge cinematic boss battles, an endless list of playable characters and an art style that looks so much like the anime that you can't help but be impressed. It certainly isn't the best game of the year, but it is one of my most favorite fighting games released this year. 9. Guacamelee I bought Guacamelee the moment it released onto the Playstation store without so much as knowing what it was even about. It was on sale, I had money in my PSN wallet, and it was simply the best looking game that was going to release for that month's indie sales, so I had no choice but to get it. What followed was about five hours of pure lucha madness. Unlocking new moves, exploring the world looking for hidden treasures and completing a multitude of quests throughout the game's story was just plain old fashioned fun. The game was hard at times without being so difficult that you'd get angry and quit, staring blankly into the mirror holding back the tears of your failure. Even though the story itself wasn't all there, it was still fun and had a very interesting ending considering how lighthearted the game itself was. You could really just buy it for the music alone and get your money's worth. 8. Rain Official GP Review I'm a pretty big fan of those artsy fartsy indie games that have been coming out as of late. Case in point - I wouldn't have guessed in a million years that I'd ever nominate a game entirely about walking and jumping as GOTY, but that is exactly what happened last year when I put Journey as my favorite game of 2012. And it wasn't even the only game like it on my list. There was also The Unfinished Swan, a game about a boy trapped in an invisible world where he uses paint to see his surroundings, and though its story was poor at best in my opinion, the gameplay mechanics were dynamite. And now in 2013, we're back here again with the PS3 game Rain. You play a young boy who turns invisible the moment he steps out into the rain pouring down over his town, but he isn't alone. Lurking in the unseen are strange, mangled beasts that want nothing more than to kill the children trapped in the rain. While people might not agree with me, the game gave me a huge Silent Hill vibe while I played. The further you progress, the more twisted and demented the game becomes. I can't recommend it enough, and that is what earned it a spot on this list. Be warned though, there isn't much replay value in the game itself. There are collectibles to find after you beat the game, but it isn't very fun to go through the same puzzles twice. 7. Grand Theft Auto V Official GP Review Grand Theft Auto V didn't exactly get the best score in the world when it was reviewed here on Game Podunk. Some people liked it, some people didn't. That is just how opinions work. But even stranger are the day walkers people who both liked and disliked the game for the sum of its parts. The single-player portion of the game was mighty fun to just mess around in and the characters portrayed were impressive to say the least. It was the first GTA game where I actively wanted to play the story mode just to see where the characters went. But then there are the game's extra activities. Things like yoga, tennis and bike riding. While those things are neat to see in a game where you can do so much, they just weren't fun to do. I would have been thrilled if they had been cut in favor of more heists or things like that, but that is just me. The thing that really pushed GTA V to my #7 spot had to be the online, though. It was so terribly broken and nearly impossible to get ahead in the game that outside of playing with friends, I had no fun whatsoever with it. 6. Beyond: Two Souls Official GP Review Much like Heavy Rain before it, Beyond: Two Souls suffered from some pretty bad gaps in its story. From disjointed scenes that had nothing to do with the game's story to huge revelations that ultimately lead nowhere, Beyond was a pretty frustrating game at times, especially near the ending of the game. However, it wasn't really noticeable while I was in the thick of it. While everything was flying by me and I was fighting ghosts or some such, it all seemed pretty great. It was always after I turned the game off that I started realizing that certain things just didn't make sense. I nearly had the same problem with Telltale's Walking Dead game when it released last year. While I played the game and avoided spoilers like they would kill me if i read them, it was all good exciting fun wrapped up in a neat little story. It was only after I beat the game that I figured out none of your choices mattered and you were essentially just clicking buttons until you got to the same scene as everybody else. Despite this, I'm still looking forward to TWD: Season 2 and whatever David Cage comes up with next. 5. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag I'll admit, I have not yet beaten Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag yet. Judging by the game's percentage counter, I'm only about 30% into the story and still have a lot to see and do. But that doesn't mean I can't put the game on this list, because what I have seen and done has been pretty great. Much better than all of the past Assassin's Creed games I've played so far. One of the game's best improvements has to be the areas of the game that take place in the real world. In the past iterations of the game, you were forced to jump around some ruins as Desmond Miles so you and your friends could turn on some lights or to simply walk from one area to another. It always annoyed me and the game felt incredibly boring during these areas. But in Black Flag, you can now search around an entire building in first-person mode looking for secrets and Easter eggs in people's offices as strange things begin to happen around your place of employment. For some reason I like this a lot more. There is also the whole piracy thing. Being the captain of a pirate ship sailing the seven seas has been a refreshing change from all of the grim, dark, save-the-world stuff we've seen in the past Assassin's Creed games. In this one you're just some guy bumbling through life trying to make a buck. There might be more to this character, but at the moment it is just great being a pirate. More games should aspire to just be fun like this! 4. Bioshock Infinite You all knew this was coming, don't deny it. The story was nonsensical at times, and there was absolutely no point to add in any player choice throughout the game since it never mattered in even the slightest. But the game was darn fun and the characters and setting were interesting as all get out. It is almost impossible to fail when your setting is in the early 1900's and your gameplay is at least passable. Thankfully, the gameplay was pretty fun too, so there wasn't any problem there from me. My only complaint might be that, even on hard, the game was a bit too easy at times. I, of course, never played on 1999 mode since I was being worse than a pirate and only borrowing the game from a friend, but either way it isn't too big of a complaint. 3. Tearaway Much like Assassin's Creed IV before it, I have not beaten Tearaway yet. This probably has to do with the fact that I do not own my own copy and it would be wrong of me to take it from the person who actually bought it seeing as they haven't beaten it yet either. But I have played a rather large portion of the game, and it is darn fun. One of the best Vita games I've played since I got my handheld a few months ago. Now, if it so great, why haven't I bought my own copy yet? Well, Christmas is the main reason. But rest assured I will be buying my own copy after the holidays are over, and you should too since despite how great it is, it isn't really getting all that many sales or publicity. So get out there and get this! Let people know you want new well made IP's on the Vita! EDIT: Shortly after this list was written up, Tearaway went on sale for $17 on the Playstation Store. Seeing as I couldn't pass that up, I now own my own copy. 2. The Last Of Us Surprise! The Last of Us is not my personal game of the year despite being absolutely great in pretty much every way. It was my belief that you should at least play on hard during your first playthrough of the game to get the best end of the world feeling with the game, and I was absolutely right. At no point through the game's story did I ever feel safe in the slightest. I was always scrounging, always searching for anything that could have been used as a weapon. In most games dealing with the end of the world, you never really feel threatened. In TLOU however, just hearing the distinct clicking noise of an infected was enough to put me into alert mode. With only a few areas in the game that felt out of place or overly action packed, it was the first game in years that actually felt like you were trying to survive. It was also the first game that let the feeling of survival by all means necessary actually flourish in its online mode. At least for me anyways, since I only ever played the modes where you could die once. More games need to make you feel nearly useless in every situation so that when you do manage to do something awesome, it actually feels amazing. 1. Ni No Kuni: The Wrath Of The Witch Official GP Review While I don't get a lot of free time to watch shows and movies, my absolute favorite movie of all time goes to Hayao Miyazaki's The Castle of Cagliostro. That isn't just my favorite animated movie either. That is out of all of the movies ever released since I have been alive. So of course I might have been a bit excited at the prospect of a game being worked on by Miyazaki, but I kept my cool as the months ticked by awaiting it's release. But the moment it was available for download on the Playstation store was the same moment I killed my Playstation's hard drive with a humongous download. But it was worth it, for after the nearly fifteen hour download and installation, I faced nearly 70 hours worth of gameplay. And while I might have beaten the main story in those 70 hours, there was still countless hours worth of content to still be found with endgame storylines, side missions, collectibles, monster taming and more. The game is just insane with how huge it is. In fact it is one of the game's downsides too. It takes nearly ten hours before you can even leave the first area in the game, and another ten hours before you can explore the world. But if anything, that is just me picking at straws to try and find a flaw. Sure the game might have held your hand at first, but there was an awful lot it had to explain to you. As for the game's story, it was a very Miyazaki affair. Filled with more of a child-like wonder. While that might turn some of today's gamers away, I absolutely loved it. The lighthearted art style and characters really brought the game together as I reunited the world. I could go on forever about just how much I loved this game, so let me leave it as this. If this game isn't at least mentioned on your list, I hate you. But not really though. Just go out and spend the $10 required to purchase a copy of your own and never look back as you get to truly enjoy a game of such a high caliber. You'll thank me for it. My thanks and congratulations go to Level-5 for making such an amazing game that I'm sure I will play for many more amazing hours. As always, thank you for reading, and have a happy new year.
  3. Jordan Haygood

    Ni no Kuni Box Art

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Studio Ghibli, Level-5

  4. http://www.primagames.com/pages/ni-no-kuni-contest?app_data={%22pi%22%3A%2239775_1366910244_1398042491%22%2C%22pt%22%3A%22twitter%22} Prima Games is running a pretty neat contest right now. Prima asks you to write a 'strategy spotlight' of your favorite familiar in the game. Basically... "Tell us where to find it, what makes it special and anything else you think we should know." Then, they'll pick five winner, one grand prize and four runner-ups. The grand prize winner will get a tons of goodies (including the collector's edition guide and an English Wizard's Companion), and runner ups will get the Wizard's Companion, cape, and poster. Sounds like a neat contest to me! I still haven't gotten far enough in the game to have any familiars other than the first few, so I won't be joining in, but maybe someone else would want to give it a shot!
  5. Developer: Level-5, Studio Ghibli Publisher: Namco Bandai Platform: PlayStation 3 Release Date: January 22, 2013 ESRB: E10+ for Everyone 10 and up Ever since Level-5 and Studio Ghibli announced that they were working together on a video game, I had been waiting anxiously for its release. I wasn“t even sure if it would have been released outside of Japan. Thanks to Namco Bandai, however, it did (they even went as far as to give us a special edition with the exceedingly gorgeous Wizard“s Companion), and I“m forever grateful that we did get Ni no Kuni, because it“s one of the best games I“ve played in a long time. Ni no Kuni throws us into a world of magic and fantasy that we are familiar with in Ghibli films. This world is in need of saving from the dark djinn and White Witch, and that“s where our protagonist, Oliver, comes in. It may be a bit clichéthat Ni no Kuni is the tale of a random young boy that“s declared as the “chosen one†that will save the world, but there“s a sort of charm that exudes from it that you can“t resist. Our tale begins in the sleepy little town of Motorville, where Oliver leads a normal and happy life with his mother. His life is suddenly turned upside-down following an accident, however, and he learns that he is a wizard that must save a mysterious other world. Oliver, Drippy, Esther, and Swaine work together to mend the broken hearts of those in the magical world and ultimately prevent it from being destroyed. Their travels bring them to a wide variety of lands where they meet all sorts of interesting people and creatures. While I do wish that the exciting parts were spread throughout Ni no Kuni rather than being stuffed together at the very beginning and near the end, it“s worth playing until the very end. I guarantee that you“ll get that sense of achievement and contentment of just finishing a great game with a heartfelt story. Studio Ghibli“s involvement with Ni no Kuni definitely helped it form into a unique gem. The in-game graphics are perfect; it“s as if you“re right in the middle of an anime. The animated cutscenes, too, are the usual gorgeousness you would expect from Ghibli (though I wish there were more of them throughout the game). And then there“s the absolutely beautiful soundtrack composed by Joe Hisaishi. Each and every track in the game is perfectly arranged and orchestrated. The main theme is especially powerful and heartfelt. Hisaishi“s work in Ni no Kuni makes me wish the Wizard“s Edition had included a full album rather than a few select tracks! Ni no Kuni“s battle system can be described as something like a mash-up of Pokémon and a Tales game. While you can control and attack with Oliver, Esther, and Swaine, you“ll mainly be battling with little creatures called 'familiars.' There are tons of familiars throughout Ni no Kuni that you can tame, nickname, train, feed, and metamorphose. Each familiar has a first and second stage, and then two final stages that you can choose from. The large variety of familiars allows for lots of personal choice and attachment. There are so many cute and awesome ones, which makes it incredibly difficult to have just a select few on your team! Each member of your team can carry three familiars at once, and they are sent out in battle one at a time (where they can only be out for a certain length of time and then must “recharge†their stamina bar). While familiars all share the same HP gauge as their owner, each has their own stats, spells, and strengths and weaknesses. When your familiar is ready to metamorphose after gaining plenty of levels, you must feed them a “drop†that matches their sign. Then they revert to level 1 (while still keeping some of their old stats). Repeat the process one more time, and then you“ll be able to choose from two different forms for your familiar“s final stage. While the familiar system has a lot of depth and uniqueness to it, the battle system could use a tad more work. Ni no Kuni feels like an action RPG with turn-based elements, and that becomes a cause for some problems in many battles. Oftentimes your actions and attacks are cancelled when an ally or foe performs something with a cutscene. When this happens repeatedly and even right after the other, it can become incredibly frustrating. That“s one of my biggest gripes with battling in Ni no Kuni, along with some other minor things. Though it actually is a rather fun and interesting concept, and I did enjoy battling very much, I think it should have been a pure real time action RPG, a la the Tales series of games. Just the main story alone will take you a good 30 hours or so to beat. It obviously doesn“t stop there, of course. There“s a bevy of side-quests for you to partake in that offer not only more time to spend with the game, but lots of incentives. This includes money, great items and weapons, and merit stamps. The more merit stamps you get, the more completed merit cards you have to turn in for special perks. What kind of perks? Being able to move faster, higher chance of taming a monster, and finding very rare items after battle are a select few. The side-quests, or “errands†as they“re referred to in Ni no Kuni, vary in type. Many will have you mend the broken hearts of people across the world, which is as simple as finding the appropriate piece of heart from someone and giving it to the brokenhearted person. Other errands include bounty hunts to kill rogue monsters and taming specific familiars to show to a familiar enthusiast. The latter type of errand gave me a bit of trouble at one point, as it took me literally hours to tame one of the familiars he wanted. Oh well; such is life for a completionist! Errands extend to post-game as well. They aren“t the only thing that will keep you busy after saving the world, however. There are also other things such as catching and metamorphosing every possible familiar and gathering the remaining pages of your Wizard“s Companion. Not to mention achieving Ni no Kuni“s trophies – some of which are deliciously challenging. All of this is sure to please any completionist. I can“t stress enough how much I love Ni no Kuni and how much I want you to play it. Everything comes together into a spectacularly beautiful and charming package of a game. Not just a game, but also an unforgettable experience. An experience that made me feel so happy for once and helped me learn to love video games again. Regardless of how strongly it will potentially affect you in particular, Ni no Kuni is one of the best games out there and it“s one you should play sometime in your life. Pros: +Top-notch graphics and animation courtesy of the legendary Studio Ghibli + Familiar system is great and has quite a bit of depth to it + Phenomenal orchestrated soundtrack from Joe Hisaishi + Plenty of side-quests throughout and post-game Cons: - Battle system needs a bit more fine-tuning - While the story is fine, it isn“t the most original and full-fledged one out there Overall Score: 9.5 (out of 10) Fantastic Ni no Kuni is not only one of the best JRPGs of this generation, it's one of the best games, period. This wonderful marriage between Level-5 and Studio Ghibli deserves to be played by everyone.
  6. Free DLC is always nice! Namco Bandai is offering just that for the recently released Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. This free download is for a familiar to add to your team (monsters that fight for you in the game). The little guy is called a Draggle. It can learn Phantom Fangs Whirligig, and Hot Huff. And if you wish, you can metamorphose your Draggle into a Dragette, and then into a Dragamuffin or Bedraggle. Unfortunately, it's not an extremely rare golden kind, like the other DLC familiars we've seen for Ni no Kuni! You can download the fiery dude starting February 12th. Have you been playing Ni no Kuni? Will you be downloading the free Draggle and adding it to your team?
  7. While Ni No Kuni might still be a week away for gamers in the United States, the game has already appeared ready to download on the Japanese Playstation Store. And you are not going to enjoy the downright magical size of the download. How big is it? Nineteen gigabytes. It hurts just to type that. Sure it isn't the largest game installation ever, but you have to keep in mind that the Playstation 3 requires at least double the size of the game's download size to be free and accessible in order to install the game, so you actually need to have 38gigs free on your hard drive to download it. So if you're looking to go on a magical adventure on your PS3 next week, then you better start making space for it.
  8. This holiday season is nearing the light at the end of the tunnel and, despite being overwhelmed with quality titles, an insatiable appetite has gamers looking to the future for more “must have” titles. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, along with Bioshock Infinite, are just a few of those titles. NAMCO Bandai originally scheduled Ni No Kuni for release in 2012, but opted to bypass the crowded holiday season and focus its efforts on parting consumers with post-holiday funds. This highly anticipated collaboration between Level-5 and Studio Ghibli is tentatively planned for a January release; however, according to the Playstation Blog the first taste of Ni No Kuni in North America will be available tomorrow. The weekly Playstation Store update will not only contain the Ni No Kuni demo, but shall also include the ability to purchase Mass Effect Trilogy, Farcry 3, Uncharted: Fight For Fortune (VITA) and DJMAX Technika Tune (VITA). Playstation Plus subscribers are also in for a treat as Bioshock 2 will be added to the Instant Game Collection, just in time to get caught up in Rapture before traveling to Columbia for the franchise's third installment.
  9. When we first saw Wonderbook crash and burn during Sony's E3 press conference earlier this year, I'm sure much of the gaming world wrote it off as just another bad idea that Sony would be sweeping under the table in the next few months. I still have my doubts about the thing, but have to admit I became slightly more interested in the idea when I saw the trailer for Diggs Nightcrawler. It certainly could have just been all the puns being thrown at me, or it could have been the slightly more mature aspects of a crime noir book starring a freaking inch worm. I'm not quite sure at this point, but at least the trailer got me to thinking, "What if the Wonderbook isn't just for kids? Where can Sony go to really get an audience?" Atlus Is King When It Comes To Storytelling I was trying to figure out just who could make the Wonderbook a must-buy peripheral when the obvious brick hit me in the form of Persona 4 Arena. Don't mistake this purely for a fighting game, because it clearly isn't. The fighting is just there to move the story along. If the Persona series can translate so well into a fighting game, who's to say they couldn't do the same with a point-and-click adventure? They already have the perfect Wonderbook setup with the Persona Compendium (I'll talk about this more in a bit) The main problem however is the gameplay aspect of it all. I couldn't find a good image of the Persona Compendium, so here is Margaret holding it. My answer to this lies in Persona 3 Portable. Unlike the Playstation 2 version of the game, P3P required the player to interact with different static points in the game world instead of walking around as the player. If they could apply this same setup to monster fights, then I see no reason why it shouldn't exist. While Atlus doesn't pull the biggest sales numbers, its hard to argue against the niche following that they do pull in. The people that buy the Persona games would kill for a more expanded Universe. Just look at the sales for P4G. Imagine what that fan base could do for the Wonderbook. A Freaking Tactics Game (Come On!) Come on people, this should have been done years ago! What goes into the usual tactics game? A lot of talking, menus, and grid based combat with intense unit management. Games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea would work perfectly with the Wonderbook's setup and show off the peripheral's neat little gimmicks. Maybe even games like X-COM could make an appearance. Why couldn't a Valkyria Chronicles battle take place on this? The game's grid based combat would fold out of the book and spread across the floor, you would point towards where you wanted them to go, yadda yadda yadda. We all know how it works. Stuff like this was even teased during the original Move demonstrations all those years ago. Nothing ever came of it, but the Wonderbook would be perfect for it. Turning the book around to get a better look at your enemies or to follow characters that have gone behind barriers, I don't care how it gets done but the Wonderbook needs a game like this. Instead of just showing off a bunch of books with waggle function they really need to start showing off games that make use of the book gimmick instead. Just Think Of The Collector's Editions I mentioned the Persona Compendium earlier, and for good reason. I'm sure you've all seen the Wonderbook peripheral itself. Its just a large black book with an AR image inside it. Not really something that would make people want to buy it. But with the recent announcements of the Journey art book and the Persona 4 Solid Gold Edition it all hit me. You see, the Persona 4 Solid Gold Edition sold out in as quickly as two days after it was announced. There are still a few places you can get them, but they aren't going to hold out for much longer. People are pretty crazy when it comes to collector's editions, so why shouldn't Wonderbook have them too? Great. Now I want one of these. Sure it wouldn't be anything special, but wouldn't a Persona Wonderbook game be even better if it came with a book cover that resembled the Persona Compendium held by Elizabeth and Margaret in Persona 3 and 4? Now let's move on to the Journey artbook. In the book you'll find AR images spruced about, just like what you'll find in the Wonderbook. You point a special camera at the image and bam, an animated scene will appear. The Wonderbook could take this one step further and add in interactive artbooks to their different collector's editions. I'm not entirely sure how this would work but I'd imagine it would be things like model viewers and special scenes from the game. ------------------------------ Of course, everything I just talked about is wishful thinking on my part. The Wonderbook still has a long road ahead if it ever hopes to be taken as a serious peripheral in the eyes of Playstation gamers. But if Diggs Nightcrawler has proven anything, it shows that the Wonderbook at least has a chance. As always, thanks for reading.
  10. Level-5 recently opened their own North American office sometime last year, and they're already getting to work on localizing their first big project – Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for the PlayStation 3 (which will be published by Namco Bandai). Level-5 International America also appears to be working on bringing the games that are part of Guild 01 over here. Although they've not announced anything officially yet, Liberation Maiden and Crimson Shroud have had trademarks filed and game ratings pop up for the U.S. It seems, though, that Level-5's CEO, Akihiro Hino, has bigger hopes in mind for Level-5 International America other than localization work. Here's what he told Siliconera when asked what else the company could be doing: "Our U.S. office mainly works to efficiently release the Japanese titles that Level-5 has created overseas and they are involved in production and distribution in the overseas territories. With Ni no Kuni, they are helping bring it to the overseas markets and potentially with other titles. In the future, we would potentially like to develop title overseas where Level-5 International America is taking the lead on developing for the overseas market." What are your thoughts on Level-5 International America developing their own games?
  11. Well, here's something new being done for pre-orders and special editions! Namco Bandai is not only bringing the special Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - Wizard's Edition here to the states, but they're also offering the chance to include MORE goodies with it. That is, they'll put in more and more stuff depending on just how many pre-orders there are. Aptly named "Ninostarter", this Kickstarter-like campaign run by Namco Bandai will include more content in the Wizard's Edition package based on how many pre-orders are put down. So far, the Ninostarter is still reaching for goal #1 at 59%, which is for a set of 5 Ni no Kuni prints. Pre-orders contributing towards this campaign are valid only until August 31 of this year. So if you're thinking about purchasing the Wizard's Edition of Ni no Kuni, you'd better do it soon! I've already got mine ordered and have contributed towards Ninostarter, now it's your turn.
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