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Found 7 results

  1. Jonathan Higgins

    E3 2016 Hands-on: I Am Setsuna

    If you“ve played video games as a hobby for a long while, you“ve no doubt noticed how the simpler mechanics and narratives of our youth have evolved and developed into amazing things. RPGs that used to be simple to pick up and play, today have complex systems that appeal to the enthusiast crowd and scare the stuffing out of newcomers. Some of my favorite RPGs of all time are the simpler ones, from the past. Complexity overwhelms me, if I“m being honest. Chrono Trigger is one of those personal favorites, and a legion of folks share my sentiments. What made that game good? Mitsuda helped create one of gaming“s most memorable soundtracks, with plenty of variety and nuances that helped make individual arrangements stand out. The characters were personality-driven and served a greater purpose. The battle system was unique for its day, and gave fans plenty of challenge and new concepts. There“s so much more, but… I Am Setsuna really wants you to remember what made Chrono Trigger so great. Just one look at oozes the same kind of nostalgia as something like Bravely Default: Flying Fairy did for traditional Final Fantasy. And that nostalgia carries over to the game with remarkable precision. The trailer isn“t deceptive in any way -- the inaugural game from Tokyo RPG Factory will indeed make you nostalgic the whole way through... but, unfortunately, it“s kind of an example of a game that follows the past to the letter, without doing anything to modernize it. I have a lot more to say about my time with the E3 demo than that -- and I did spend a lot of time with it. I believe the demo could only end when the player got a 'Game Over.' Since I“m extremely familiar with how Chrono Trigger plays -- no boss or challenge was ever able to get the better of me, and I spent a full hour playing, with an audience that was captivated and wondered if the screen would ever fade to black and go “Stay tuned for the full game!” -- It didn“t, to my knowledge. An hour is enough to completely unsell me on the game, unfortunately. When you spend enough time with it, you realize how desperately this game wants to be Chrono Trigger. It copies item names and Techs & Combos to the letter. The hero has “Cyclone” that works like Crono“s does, and he can combine with one of his allies to do an “X-Strike” like Crono and Glenn. There are a few nuances and mechanics that depart from Chrono Trigger, but they borrow from other Final Fantasy games (think FF7“s Materia) versus offering up anything “new and exciting”. Gosh, is this ever an experience that“s heavily rooted in the past. It doesn“t modernize things or try to push the gameplay forward in the same way that Bravely Default does, either. I found everything about my time with the game to be summed up in a single phrase: “one-note”. The soundtrack utilizes only piano melodies, for starters. And hey, the piano is my favorite instrument. But to have an entire video game soundtrack with nothing but? It“s a little too much for me, no matter how catchy some of the arrangements are. The story seems very one-dimensional--with characters that try to be cut-outs of various archetypes hobbyists are familiar with. I“m a little hesitant to be so wordy with these impressions, since I only played the first hour. But I think even Final Fantasy games that tried to market nostalgia, like IX, do a much better job of accomplishing their mission within the first hour. Unfortunately, I'm very underwhelmed by what I saw of I Am Setsuna. But you“re free to ignore my cautionary sentiments, especially if you“re a huge fan of Chrono Trigger and long for more like it. Even if I found everything rather symbolic of a “Tokyo RPG Factory” -- perhaps you“ll find value in things that I did not. I Am Setsuna is available on the PlayStation 4 on July 12th, 2016.
  2. Square Enix revealed their E3 trailer for the upcoming I Am Setsuna today, and upon watching it, you'll notice more than a passing resemblance to a classic RPG of old: Chrono Trigger. This is because I Am Setsuna's battle system is actually inspired in part by it. In addition to the battles seamlessly unfolding right on the spot (instead of entering a battle mode), you'll notice a few nods in the trailer to some classic attacks from the game, such as the X-Strike (two party members going in for a hit on the enemy and crossing paths at the same time), among others. In any case, I Am Setsuna looks like it's shaping up to be one of the more interesting games that is coming out soon. You won't have to wait long either; the game is set to release digitally on July 19 for PlayStation 4 and Steam at a $39.99 price point. Source: Press Release What are your thoughts on I Am Setsuna? Are you interested in checking out?
  3. You“ve no doubt come across books, television shows, video games, movies or music that you can honestly say have had a profound influence on your life. Two such examples, for me, are Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. Without meandering for too long as to their significance to me: I wear a necklace of Chrono Trigger“s Gate Key with me everywhere I go (pictured), and I have a variation of the clock from the logo tattooed on my back. I“ve researched and analyzed the games to death, too. Part of why this series carries so much significance to me is its music. I recognize its composer“s style, even in games I“m not altogether familiar with. He even helped me to better understand Soma Bringer, a game I imported and played entirely in Japanese (I know nothing of the language, unfortunately). I could write volumes about what led Yasunori Mitsuda“s Chrono Trigger & Chrono Cross Arranged Album to my door. But instead, I“ll just tell you about it: Similar to Yoko Shimomura“s memoria, Mitsuda and friends created this album to celebrate twenty years of his career. Rather than create an album that honors his work from a plethora of games, they stuck with just the Chrono series, in order to create a more cohesive compilation. Ten tracks from both Chrono games create forty-three minutes of music that mostly carries similar themes and emotions throughout. I imported the physical version of the album via Amazon JP. The artwork on the case is very stylized. One of the case“s flaps hides the album itself, the other contains a folded up page with lyrics for all the vocalized parts of each arrangement, in both Japanese and English. Six of the ten tracks on the album have vocals. If hearing voices in orchestral music isn“t your thing, that may be a slight turnoff. But before I go into the specifics of each song -- if I could judge the vocal talents holistically, I“d say they“re absolutely worth it. Among vocalists contributing to the album is Sarah Àlainn, known for her performance of "Beyond the Sky" from Xenoblade Chronicles. The writers and performers on this album heavily researched the source materials. Their lyrics are meaningful and help to make powerful arrangements even better. My two favorites are "RADICAL DREAMERS" (with English lyrics written by Àlainn) and "On The Other Side" (written and performed by Laura Shigihara). Mitsuda himself is credited with two arrangements on the album, while overseeing all of them. Noteworthy arrangers include Sachiko Miyano (who lent her talents to Ni No Kuni“s music, among other things) and Natsumi Kameoka (The Last Remnant, Inazuma Eleven). Doing just a little bit of research, it seems almost all ladies helped Mitsuda put this album together. It“s certainly refreshing to see! The album starts with "Time“s Scar", a song that“s been arranged by everyone from Video Games Live to Symphonic Fantasies. There are two things that make the arrangement on this album unique (besides the lyrics, anyway). One is its prominent use of electric guitar, and the other is how the harmony of the vocalists is used in such a way that they“re almost an instrument themselves. Next up is "RADICAL DREAMERS", where Sarah Àlainn conveys the message that the end of Chrono Cross spells out with lyrics plus instrumentals provided by Sachiko Miyano. While the song is great on its own, I feel like anyone who got to the end of Chrono Cross on the PlayStation will definitely have a deeper appreciation for this one. "Wind Scene", the 600 AD world map theme from Chrono Trigger, comes after that. This is one of those songs I feel Mitsuda picked because of its popularity with fans. The soft piano is a great way to start, and it eventually leads to a powerful crescendo with a full orchestra that will give even folks who“ve never heard the song before chills. "Schala“s Theme" from Chrono Trigger has Japanese lyrics that intertwine themes present in both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross -- since she plays a central role in both games. The thing that strikes me the most about this arrangement is how the melody from Chrono Cross“s “ ” can be consistently heard, just barely in the background (it“s more noticeable towards the middle of the song), carrying the subtle hint of how Kid from Chrono Cross is connected to Schala in some way. Next up is "Frozen Flame" -- by far my favorite arrangement in the album. The original song itself is admittedly a simple one, but you can feel the weight each note carries. Just listening to the preview on the official Japanese site for the album is enough to show you Natsumi Kameoka means business, even if this is your first time hearing the melody. After that comes "Marbule", the only song on the album Mitsuda arranged entirely himself. While I enjoy what he put together -- in an album that pays homage to how each song fits in either Chrono Trigger or Chrono Cross, he made some choices I don“t necessarily agree with. " " is a significant song in Chrono Cross where Nikki, a rock star character, puts together a sort of rock opera whose melody (the Marbule song) helps Serge and his companions to save the island from what“s plaguing it. Despite using the electric guitar in “Time“s Scar” -- Mitsuda chose to ignore a perfect opportunity to put together something like “Magical Dreamers” to honor Marbule in favor of just arranging the more folky version of the island“s theme. There“s nothing wrong with Mitsuda“s choice here -- I just definitely would have picked Magical Dreamers over the island“s simpler theme. After "Marbule" comes “The Bend of Time” or "Dimension Break." Funny thing to note about this song is that it was actually featured before in Play for Japan!, so it“s not my first time hearing it. "Corridors of Time" is another song with English lyrics, this time written by Laura Shigihara. While I like the foreboding nature of this song, I much prefer the sentimentality carried in "On The Other Side". Hearing Chrono Trigger“s with lyrics that honor friendship turned my heart into a pool of jello. "To Far Away Times" is the final song of the album, with lyrics courtesy of Sarah Àlainn. She does her best to sing about the significance of time, often alluding to moments that made Chrono Trigger special. With "Wind Scene" and "Marbule" being two exceptions, I“d honestly call this album "The Story of Schala." Her roles in both games definitely carry a vast majority of the album“s musical significance. It“s perfectly fitting: she“s the character responsible for Chrono Cross“s more nihilistic mentality, and the one loose end to be tied at the end of both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. Ultimately, I“d say the arranged album is some of Mitsuda“s best work. But I can“t help feeling it“s sometimes outclassed by the sixteen minute medley found in Symphonic Fantasies, which covers a wide variety of more popular songs that don“t necessarily tell a complete story, but that carries power all by itself. The Chrono Trigger & Chrono Cross Arranged Album will be available here in the west soon via the Square-Enix store, but if you can“t wait a moment longer, it“s available both physically and digitally (via iTunes) in Japan.
  4. http://gameological.com/2013/04/on-the-level-chrono-trigger/ This here is a very interesting piece about the Kingdom of Zeal in Chrono Trigger. Any that have playee the game may remember how... well... that place was, but this write-up really puts some aspects of this part of the timeline in the spotlight. It's certainly worth a gander!
  5. Marshall Henderson

    Chrono Trigger Now on Android Devices

    We've seen Chrono Trigger on SNES, PlayStation, Nintendo DS, Virtual Console, PSN, and even iOS, but we idiots who bought Android devices are getting the royal shaft on this. Or at least, we were. Fortunately, today marks the day where the beloved SNES classic comes to the Google Play store and we emerge from the Jurassic period. Originally released on the SNES, Chrono Trigger is considered one of the greatest JRPGs of forever, and rightly so, with its strong characters, compelling story, and the work from Dragon Ball's Akira Toriyama filling out the artwork. While it's a well-beloved game, many might be resistant to the $9.99 price tag for a mobile device, but it is surely cheaper than most other releases of the game. Be wary, though, of the comments in the reviews. Many warn of poor optimization and finicky controls The extra DS content is available on the Google Play version of Chrono Trigger, so if you were ever interested in that, hey, it might be something to check out. Chrono Trigger is available now for $9.99 and 36M of your device's space on the Google Play store.
  6. With the recent news of the The World Ends with You going to iOS (http://www.gamepodun...-a-sequel-r1213) I got to thinking. That game was incredible. It's the best use of the DS so far. It really might lose a lot going to the iOS. In fact, the DS... Then I realized that the DS may be the best system... ever. Not since the days of SNES vs Genesis has this position been coveted, but still - the DS has it all. So here's a guide. If you want to play a great game from pretty much any genre, the DS has you covered. And they're mostly dirt-cheap now, so you can hit up Amazon anytime you'd like something amazing for under $20. The DS has... the Best RPGs Chrono Trigger DS - the definitive edition of the best RPG of all time. Sure, some (including myself) prefer the old translation, and the added DS features aren't great, but they can't subtract from the core game which is, still, nearly perfect. The World Ends With You - an amazing action RPG that can't be done (correctly) anywhere else. A plot remniscient of the most mind-being anime, fashion, and all the anime that you can handle, with the most-fun battle system of the last ten years. Honestly, it's nearly perfect... especially if you play the omake chapter. Buy this game. Final Fantasy VI (GBA) - it's a GBA game, but it's the best Final Fantasy. If you want to play the best RPG traditional RPG ever, here's your chance. The DS has... the Best Rhythm Games Elite Beat Agents - even Nintendo Power gave this the rating of best DS game ever, and for a good reason. It's probably the best pure rhythm game ever - not the best party game, no, but the best game against doing things to a beat. You'll laugh, you'll dance, you'll cry. Bonus points for its prequel and sequel which didn't make it to the States. The DS has... the best adventure games. Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney (1-3) - the best adventure games released in the last ten years bring back what was fun about the genre - using tools to your advantage against a wacky cast of characters. The Phoenix Wright Trauma Center (1 and 2) - is this an adventure game? I don't know what to call it, really, but it's a blast to play. Sharp reflexes and an interesting-enough storyline amount to a great weekend of playtime. There's a Wii version, too, but it's not as fun. The DS has... the best action games. Mega Man Zero Collection - it's the best shape you've seen Megaman in ages, and Megaman isn't even playable. It's four games for the price of one, and each of them represent the peak of 2D platforming. Alright, fine, there was some hyperbole there. It doesn't have the best racing game (that's Mario Kart Double Dash on the Gamecube), the best party game (Rock Band), or the best hummingbird-based shooter (that's the 32X). Still, it's a mighty fine system... if nothing else, I hope I've showed you some games you've missed. Can you think of any system better deserving of best platform than the DS?
  7. Sure, this isn't specifically a video game article, but given the amount of choices below that ARE game-related I thought I could post it here. The top five list isn't really sorted, as they're wont to be - it's hard to say, objectively, how awesome one thing is in comparison to another, especially with the breadth of works on this list. All five choices are amazing, and you'd do well in reading any of them. 5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Is this time-travel based? I say so. I think it is because of one particular time travel theme - that characters learn something in the span of their "travel" that applies to them in the future, even if the act of time traveling erased the act of having traveled at all. That's a pretentious way of saying "stuff happens because someone saw the past," and since this movie is great that's good enough for me. 4. Chrono Trigger - It's almost a given that it's here, but that doesn't make it any less valid. Chrono Trigger is the de-facto time-travling video game, hitting every beat that you'd want to hit - magic, technology, dinosaurs, meeting your ancestors and descendants, swords, guns, and the end of time itself. It's still my favorite overall video game experience, thanks to the gameplay and music, but the time-travel based storyline is a real delight, putting in just the right amount of "openness" in a traditionally linear experience. 3. End of Eternity, by Asimov - Did you know Asimov's an amazing writer? I just found this out, after all this time. This novel, published in 1955, doesn't feel like it's old. 2. Back to the Future Trilogy - The first work that overlaid multiple versions of the same person into popular fiction, and a great example of it. It's a fantastic trilogy that misses out on first place just because it gets a bit worse the longer it goes on - Back to the Future 2 isn't as good as Back to the Future 1 just because it ties directly in to BttF3, which wasn't great - but that shouldn't be a black eye on the series. Back to the Future 1 and 2 are really quintessential sci-fi films that are extremely accessible to the everyman, and paved the way for other light sci-fi films in a way that few things have. 1. Ghost Trick - I'd imagine this could be controversial, but this game really has everything a good story should have. Time travel really is the emotional and gameplay-based hook behind the game - change the fate of the present by doing everything you can four minutes before a given character dies. The game is constantly engaging and entertaining, with puzzle solutions that're more Monkey Island than Space Quest - that is, you can screw up, but those moments may be the best in the game instead of moments that make you wish you were playing something else. With the game available for $10 on iOS it's a must-play for anyone with the opportunity. HONORABLE MENTIONS Memento - It's not a time travel movie persay, since the illusion and shifting of time is (mostly) in the eyes of the viewer instead of the characters. But it's a bit of meta commentary on the idea of time travel, too, in that the perception of events changes the reality of the events. It's on Netflix, Hulu, and probably everywhere else. Definitely worth a view. Die Hard - Have you seen Die Hard? You should see Die Hard.
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