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Messages - Dragona Akehi

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1
TalkBack / REVIEWS: Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2
« on: February 14, 2004, 01:27:28 PM »
One day I saw a ninja totally flip out and kill this kid! He was holding a spoon and the ninja totally flipped out and killed him!!! Ninjas are so cool.

Discuss it in Talkback!    


One should feel sorry for the people that bought the original Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen! for the GameCube. It’s like shelling out for a full priced game and getting a demo disc. That much is rather obvious after seeing what Naruto 2 has to offer.    


Naruto: Gekitou Taisen 2 features quite a bit of Japanese. However, since it’s a fighting game, menus are easily figured out. Other than understanding the plot to Story Mode, this game is pretty import friendly. If you are interested in this game or another import VideoGameDepot has everything you need.    


Essentially, Naruto 2 is everything that the original should have been. Offering over twice as many playable characters, plus a plethora of modes, it’s clear that the original was very much lacking.    


As Naruto 2 boots up we’re greeted with an opening comprised of FMV taken straight from the show. Presentation is great. There is art everywhere, and Naruto himself tells you all about the game’s different modes through a voice-over. Everything has a distinct ninja “feel" and certainly adds significantly to the atmosphere.    


The original title featured some incredible cel-shaded graphics, but they certainly don’t compare to Naruto 2. Models are incredibly clean, shadows work perfectly, and animations are that much more impressive. Many of the signature moves from Naruto 1 have been completely redone. The flashy special effects are back and then some. Lighting, transparencies, and all sorts of effects make the anime come to life. Backgrounds have been spruced up considerably, but still are not cel-shaded which is a shame.    


Naruto 2 still doesn’t offer surround sound in any capacity, but things have improved overall. There are a greater amount of tracks, and they are much better compositionally than the original’s. Voice acting is used frequently, from characters’ battle cries to the fully voiced cut scenes in Story mode.    


Of course, the biggest complaint of the original Naruto was the button-mash friendly fighting engine. Unfortunately, it remains basically the same: B is for martial arts (punching, kicking etc.), A is for weapons (whether used as projectiles or for slashing), Y is throw, and X is the one-button-super move. However, there have been tweaks here and there. Characters can still “Ninja Teleport" by pressing the L or R trigger while being hit, (leaving a log where they were and attacking the assailant from behind,) and while the Chakra (super meter) cost is the same, the counter damage is no longer overpowering.    


Characters all have unique movesets but are closer to Smash Bros. than Street Fighter in complexity. The most effective combinations use just B and A attacks, and the game could literally be beaten with one hand. Things are rather bad, balance-wise. Some characters are simply too overpowered, while other characters are nigh useless. The biggest offender is Rock Lee, who has an attack that could be comboed infinitely if it weren’t for the physics engine and the ability to Ninja Teleport. Remember B B B B A A and you’ll never lose a battle.    


As with all fighting games, Naruto 2 features the old standbys of Arcade and Survival. In addition to these modes there is an all-new Story mode which regales the adventures of Naruto and his friends via voice-acted cut scenes. Usually, you play as Naruto within Story mode, but occasionally there will be chapters where another character becomes available. The biggest improvement is the addition of four-player multiplayer. Now four people can bash ninjas to their heart’s content within the game. The camera will zoom out when characters are too far apart, sometimes making it difficult to see who is actually attacking whom.    


The game features plenty of extras for fans to unlock. With characters, biographies and artwork, and extra modes, there is much to do. After beating any of the modes outside of multiplayer, you will be awarded money depending on your performance. By taking your newfound wealth to the shop, you can buy different items that unlock different things. Unlike the original, Naruto 2 has twenty characters to choose from, and each has a unique look and fighting style.    


Naruto: Gekitou Taisen 2 is a definite must for fans of the series. However, if you’re looking for a serious 3D fighting game, this game won’t be for you. While the game is beautiful and features abundant fanservice (the clean type), the unbalanced game mechanics make for little more than a party game to be enjoyed with friends.

Pros:
       

  • Beautiful, detailed character models, and a smooth framerate  
  • Twenty characters to choose from  
  • Lots of extras for fans  
  • Great presentation

           Cons:
           
  • Still a button mash fest  
  • Though much more detailed than before, the non cel-shaded backgrounds are distracting  
  • Some characters (cough Rock Lee cough) are incredibly cheap  
  • Camera in four-player mode can get a little difficult to see  
  • This is the game Naruto 1 should have been

                   Graphics:  9.0
           It’s apparent that Eighting knows their GC hardware. Even with upwards of eight detailed models fighting onscreen, the game doesn’t stutter until it begins one of its over-the-top special effects. Incredibly smooth cel-shaded models ooze style, and animations are top-notch.

                   Sound:  7.5
           Featuring a much better track selection and variety than its predecessor, Naruto 2 has some good tunes. Pair this with voice actors straight from the show, and you’ve got a winner.

                   Control:  8.0
           Simple and tight.

                          Gameplay:  7.5
           Yes, it’s still the same button-mashing friendly fighting engine. However there’ve been some much needed tweaks. That and the addition of four-player multiplayer certainly bring the score up.

     


           Lastability:  8.5
           There are a tonne of things to unlock. With twenty characters to discover, different modes and the sheer amount of unlockables, Naruto 2 will probably be in any Naruto fan’s GC for some time.

     


           Final:  8.0
           This makes the original game look like a demo disc. With so many things to do and tonnes of extras, fans will love it. In essence: if you are a fan of the series, Naruto: Gekitou Taisen 2 is the game for you. If you’re in the market for a serious 3D brawler, it would be best to look elsewhere.      


  • 2
    TalkBack / REVIEWS: Naruto: Clash of Ninja
    « on: July 08, 2003, 01:24:54 PM »
    Ain't nothing but ninjas.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Naruto, it’s a very popular animé and manga in Japan, involving a plethora of ninjas. Starring the show’s namesake, Naruto, who has had the ill fortune of having an evil kyuubi(9-tailed fox of Japanese mythology) sealed within his navel. (Hence the apparent whiskers.)    


    Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen, has hit the GameCube, and the fact of the matter is, it’s pretty fun. As many people know, this is somewhat of a rarity in the sea of crappy licensed games, so Eighting should be proud of what they’ve accomplished with their Ninja All-Star Bash.    


    Featuring a very impressive cel-shading engine, the game pumps out detailed characters and great special effects and doesn’t cough once. When in battle, it isn’t unusual for the game to suddenly use Motion Blur, turn the colours negative or other “effects" popular within manga and animé mediums when a character deals a powerful blow. The only hitch is that the backgrounds, while not overly disappointing, are Goraud-shaded, which detracts from the art style.    


    The audio is passable, and while the game features some nice voice acting from the original cast members of the show, the music isn’t anything special. Not grating, but not something you’ll be remembering down the road, unless you’re an avid viewer of the show.    


    Unfortunately, Naruto’s only real downfall is how the game plays. It isn’t horribly by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s clearly meant to be more of a fun “party game" with good graphics than a serious fighter. Even the simplified controls reflect this. A is your weapon button, whether that is for projectiles (throwing knives or shurikens) or slashing. B is for traditional martial arts (punching, kicking, etc). Y is the throw button, and X is your one-button-super.    


    When your Chakra meter fills up you can just hit the X button to lay loose your special attack upon your foe. The L and R triggers are for quick dodge or “Ninja Teleport". If you’ve been hit by the enemy you can instantly teleport by a tap of the trigger and leave the classic “ninja log" where you used to be, and then fly out of nowhere with a counter attack. This is at the hefty cost of about 60% of your Chakra meter, so the game doesn’t descend into an endless counter-fest -- a very smart move on Eighting’s part.    


    Characters also have a variety of special moves that take up smaller amounts of Chakra meter that are available at any time. While it’s different for each character, special moves are a combination of pressing the D-pad in a certain direction and pressing the A button.    


      Naruto accomplishes what it sets out to do: it allows fans of the series to play as their favourite shinobi warriors and do it in style. After extensive time with the 2-player mode, it becomes pretty obvious that the game is geared more towards button-mashers, but, if you’re a big Naruto fan, this game is for you. If you’re looking to import a serious 3D fighting game though, you’re best off grabbing Soul Calibur II instead.

    Pros:
           

  • Nicely cel-shaded models  
  • Special effects everywhere  
  • Great for fans of the series  
  • Ninjas!

           Cons:
           
  • Normally rendered backgrounds take away from the beautiful cel-shading  
  • Not particularly deep  
  • Button-masher friendly  
  • Only 8 playable characters

                   Graphics:  8.5
           While the character models, animation, and special effects are nigh perfect, the backgrounds, which are traditionally rendered rather than cel-shaded, seem a tad out of place. This game is flashy and proud of it.

                   Sound:  7.5
           Good tunes, but not anything you’ll be humming later on during the day. The game features the original Japanese voice actors for the television show, and they certainly don’t disappoint. Unfortunately, no surround sound option appears to be available.

                   Control:  8.5
           Simple, but efficient. Everything is precise and tight.

                          Gameplay:  7.0
           While Naruto does have more to it than say, DBZ: Budokai, it all comes down to the fact that the game is aimed more at fans of the show and manga, rather than serious fighting game fanatics.

     


           Lastability:  8.0
           As with most fighting games, there’s an Arcade mode and Survival mode. Also included is a special Story mode if you play as Naruto. There are a decent amount of things to unlock in single player mode, such as artwork and character bios, but in the end, players will get the most out of the 2P VS mode as with all games of this genre.

     


           Final:  7.0
           Naruto’s appeal is obviously to the fans of the show and manga. As such, the game delivers in full. However, if you’re looking for a good fighting game to import, you’d be better off saving your dollars for Soul Calibur II instead.      


  • 3
    TalkBack / RE:REVIEWS: Baten Kaitos II
    « on: April 04, 2006, 05:26:57 AM »
    Actually, many people (people in Japan specifically) were very worried that BKII would be a "quick cash grab" and basically reuse BK1's backgrounds to the proverbial "extreme". It was very much a sigh of relief when it was proven otherwise upon the game's release.

    Seriously, this one is a winner. Make sure to pick it up in English when it comes out this summer. I'm praying NOA does a better job of the voice acting this time round. I recently played the english version of Baten Kaitos and aisha can gradne, my ears were literally bleeding.  

    4
    TalkBack / REVIEWS: Baten Kaitos II
    « on: April 02, 2006, 04:24:55 PM »
    Does MonolithSoft deliver another hit extending the GameCube's life, or is it a quick cash-in during the system's dying days?

    That the GameCube should get another full length RPG, when the system appears to be on its last legs, desperately holding on for the release of The Legend of Zelda, seems a rather odd idea. It's especially odd that the RPG should be a full-length prequel to Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean from Namco and MonolithSoft, considering how poorly the first game sold. However, here it is, and many people have been wondering whether Baten Kaitos II would live up to the legacy of the first title, which proved the developer of being capable of creating a quality title that has no relation to bad sci-fi space opera.      


    Like many Japanese RPGs, Baten Kaitos II suffers from the dreaded alphabet known as “Kanji". Due to this language barrier, it is recommended that people who cannot read Japanese fluently wait for the English release, which will be handled by Nintendo of America and will see a ship date of sometime this summer. If, however, you are a brave and hardy soul and do not fear the perils of untranslated software, consider importing the title from our partners at Lik-Sang.  (Until the end of May, you can use the coupon code LS-7DA093455B to get $5 off most orders of at least $40.)    


    As in the first Baten Kaitos title, you play the role of spiritual advisor to a young man named Sagi. He's a new recruit in the Alfard army, and to his surprise (not to mention yours) his first mission is to successfully assassinate the current emperor. Not exactly the kind of thing Sagi pictured himself doing as a soldier. As the story progresses, Sagi will be exploring many areas you've seen in the original Baten Kaitos and players will definitely be able to connect the dots between the two titles. Cameos abound, and fans will be delighted to learn that quite a few extremely influential characters from Baten Kaitos will play major roles in Sagi's adventure.    


    Since the game takes place a full two decades before the events in Baten Kaitos, it would be expected that many locations such as towns would share a similar look. Indeed, many of the cities in Baten Kaitos II use the same backgrounds from the earlier title, often touched up. This is not to say that Baten Kaitos II recycles everything from its forebear; all of the dungeons have been rethought, and while the general layout of an area (such as the Lesser Celestial River) may be the same as its future counterpart, there are more differences than similarities. One of the most noticeable improvements in Baten Kaitos II is in the character models and animations. Characters are much more detailed than in the previous game, with vastly improved modeling and texturing. Probably the largest gains came in battle animations. Sagi and friends rip through enemies with style and verve, showing off flashy ending moves and moving at breakneck speed. Enemies and NPCs also benefit from a visual upgrade, though overworld animations still suffer from some awkward movements. Still, even with these many gains in the visual field, Baten Kaitos II simply cannot compare to other pre-rendered titles like the Resident Evil remake, let alone real-time graphical endeavours such as Resident Evil 4.    


    For those who have played the original Baten Kaitos, one of the first things they will think of is the incredible soundtrack and either sparse voice acting (if they own the Japanese version) or absolutely terrible voice acting (if they own the English version). By some stroke of good fortune, Motoi Sakuraba has returned to work his magic for the soundtrack of Baten Kaitos II. And magic, it certainly is. It might be easy to name off superlatives to equate how fantastic this soundtrack really is, but it does not to the game justice. Just as with the previous game, the music of Baten Kaitos II is phenomenal. From the surreal and delicate Le Ali Del Principio (sung, no less than by the composer's daughter herself; Mio Sakuraba), to the wicked funk of Chaotic Dance 2, gamers will be enthralled by the aural treats coming from their speakers. Voice acting, instead of being allocated to only a few sparse scenes, now graces every cutscene in the game. All of the characterizations are excellent, of which special mention must be made for Guillo. It is Sagi's robotic friend and has two voice actors, male and female, reading its lines simultaneously, which creates a unique effect. Speaking of which, players who happen to have a surround setup will be thrilled to know that Baten Kaitos II fully utilizes Dolby Pro Logic II, just as the previous title, and to great effect.    


    Baten Kaitos featured one of the most experimental and inconsistent battle systems to grace any RPG. Using battle magnus to defeat the enemy by complimenting elemental and physical damage, some battles were extremely difficult and drawn out if you drew the “wrong" cards: either opposing elements or too many defensive items. In fact, some battles could take in excess of an hour to complete. In an effort to rectify this problem, Baten Kaitos has completely reinvented its battle system, in a way that will probably disappoint existing fans. Simply put, the battle system has been simplified. Instead of intricate deck building and strategic moves, Baten Kaitos II feels more in line with typical Final Fantasy fare than the genius of the original. This isn't to say that everything is bad; the battle system is fast, furious and still quite fun.    


    Instead of managing individual decks for each of your characters, everyone shares the same deck. Instead of having individual cards that do damage or protect independently (such as Flame Swords or Ice Armour), your characters equip them during battle. Each weapon or armour has a certain amount of HP which is depleted with each successful blow, after which the card disappears back into your deck. Characters attack with “Attack Magnus" which look like little daggers with a corresponding spirit number in the upper right hand corner. In this game you cannot pair up cards or run a poker “straight" in reverse to get extra damage: to make a multi-hit combo, you must go in order from numerals 0-9. As in the previous game, there are “finishing" moves, but these too can be linked together if the MP gauge to the right-hand side of the screen has enough attack power. As one might expect, normal attacks increase the meter, whilst the special moves deplete it. Though these changes were made to improve the speed of battles (and indeed they are extremely quick), there are a few problems. Since everyone shares the same deck, it can get quite annoying when say, Sagi's turn is next and the screen is filled with equipment for Guillo. Players will sometimes feel like they spend more time discarding unwanted cards than actually fighting enemies. For all of these issues, it must be emphasized that the battle system is very fun and quite engaging; it just isn't as inventive and addictive as that of the previous title.    


    One of the best additions to the battle system is Relay Combos. When a character has just finished his or her turn with a special move, and the next character is ready for battle, it is possible to enact a Relay Combo if the player has a card with a spirit number of one in hand. The second character can then select more cards (including another special move), and the third character can join in if the cards in hand permit. Relay Combos allow for insane amounts of damage, which will net you significant amounts of TP, which are required for your party to Class Up. Veterans of Baten Kaitos will recall the shrine where they powered up their characters: however, it is only used for completing a Class Up, as characters now automatically level up after battles. Sagi can also purchase Auras at the shrine, which will align the character with a certain element, allowing them to deal damage in that element and be protected from certain attacks.    


    Though the battle system itself is on the disappointing side, everything else about Baten Kaitos II is a very large step over its predecessor. Quest Magnus take on an entirely new importance. Sagi will collect quite a few Blank Magnus in his travels, and while they're still used for sub-quests and the like, they have a far more important function now: the ability to alter your battle statistics. For instance, if Sagi traps the Magna Essence of fresh fruit into one of his cards, all of his party's stats will be increased slightly. If the fruit is kept until it rots, the party's stats will plummet below par. Sub-quests too, have been expanded: there is an entire menu location dedicated to keeping track of them, and there are many to complete. Dungeons are excellent, and scenarios are well thought out and even include a mini-story mimicking a mystery novel, in which Sagi has to deduce who the perpetrator is in a terrorist plot using only what the suspects tell him. All of these things come together to build an excellent world and an extremely enjoyable gaming experience.    


    In short, Baten Kaitos II is not only a fantastic follow-up to the original game, it exceeds it in almost every aspect. Whoever enjoyed the first game will be enthralled in the prequel, and those who did not will certainly be surprised.

    Pros:
           

  • Flashy battle system is still very fun  
  • Motoi Sakuraba once again manages to delight and amaze gamers' ears  
  • Fans of the original will find themselves enraptured by the links between both games

           Cons:
           
  • Shares quite a few areas from the first title that have not been changed in any significant fashion  
  • Battle system has been completely overhauled and simplified, much to the dismay of fans of the original  
  • Some models and animations can look extremely dated by today's standards

                   Graphics:  7.0
           While the game uses quite a few backgrounds from the previous title, there are plenty of new areas which are just as lush. In addition, all of the models have been given a significant upgrade. Still, compared to upper echelon GameCube titles, Baten Kaitos II doesn't really impress so much as it just barely manages to maintain the status quo. Battles do look quite phenomenal, with flashy effects and stunning animation routines, all taking place at quite a clip. Too bad that Monolith decided to recycle the clumsy looking NPC and overworld animations from the previous title. Oops.

                   Sound:  9.5
           From the totally rockin' soundtrack to the excellent use of Dolby Pro Logic II, not to even mention the ample and phenomenal voice-acted cutscenes, Baten Kaitos II positively sings on a surround sound setup. Some people may not enjoy the announcer's cries of “Relay Combo" and the like, but it's probably the only thing that could be nitpicked in this category.

                   Control:  8.0
           Everything is quick and accurate.

                          Gameplay:  7.0
           This is a difficult category to judge. Overall, Baten Kaitos II stands head and shoulders over its predecessor, the battle system unfortunately does not. Being the core of any RPG, the simplified battle system will disappoint many fans of the original's pièce de résistance. However, it must be emphasized that Baten Kaitos II still does the monster-battling bit much better than the typical role-playing game.

     


           Lastability:  7.0
           As with all RPGs, it's usually over when the fat lady sings, the world implodes, or both. Fortunately, the game spans two discs, so it will take some time before the aforementioned occurs. That's not to mention extra activities such as battling in the coliseum.

     


           Final:  8.0
           An extremely worthy sequel that manages to not only climb above its predecessor but be an example of what an excellent and original RPG should be. GameCube owners looking for something to amuse themselves with before Zelda will be pleasantly surprised when they realise that Baten Kaitos II is more than just a diversion, but a game easily in the running for RPG of the year, regardless of platform.      


  • 5
    TalkBack / IMPRESSIONS: Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
    « on: June 22, 2001, 04:47:20 PM »
    The latest in the Ogre Battle Saga was released yesterday, and PlanetGameCube is the first Nintendo site to get their grubby hands on this sweet simulation/RPG title.

    Tactics Ogre Gaiden is an "Anecdote of Ogre Battle Saga", or rather a  sidestory that isn't an official chapter of the 8 chapter series (3 of the  chapters have been released to date in the form of Densetsu no Ogre Battle,  Tactics Ogre, and Ogre Battle 64, with an Ogre Battle Gaiden game released  last year for Neo Geo Pocket Color).  Just like how Ogre Battle Gaiden used  an identical (but slightly scaled down) version of the original Ogre  Battle's system, Tactics Ogre Gaiden uses the exact same gameplay system of  Tactics Ogre, except there are numerous changes and an overall revamp of the  interface, all for the better in our opinion.    


    The game starts off very dramatic, with main character Alphonse, a knight  serving Lodis, and his friend and comrade, Lector, accompanying as they head  off to the island of Ovis to spread the teachings of Lodis.  While there,  they are attacked by pirates, and after the initial battle, a pirate pops  out of nowhere, aiming his bow at Lector, but Alphonse jumps in the way,  taking the arrow, and getting thrown into a nearby river where he loses  consiousness, and drifts to a house near a shore.  Alphonse loses his memory  and here where the game begins.    


    To those new to the series, Tactics Ogre Gaiden plays like this: You have an  army composed of various units, each of whom have their own class.  Scenarios are classic war simulation-type, hex-based, turn-based fighting.  It's like chess, only with fighting and plenty of stats.  Your characters  can attack with their regular weapon, or use magic and other skills.    


    There are several changes that a veteran Tactics Ogre fan will be quick to  notice.  For one, there is no longer a distinction between male and female  classes.  In all previous Ogre Battle/Tactics Ogre games, males had unique  classes and females had unique classes.  In Tactics Ogre Gaiden, there is no  such distinction, so you can have a male or female cleric or a male or  female soldier.  This distinction is noticed quickly when characters such as  a female soldier, male archer, female ninja, female knight, and male cleric  show up early on, where these classes were usually the other way around,  gender-wise.    


    Also, as far as we could tell, the character report (signified as the Warren  Report or Hugo Report in previous games) is gone.  This is a HUGE  disappointment and there was absolutely no reason to leave this out.  Instead, we're left with Kabocha's Memo, which is nothing but a hints  section.  In a best case scenario, a character report will open up later on,  but since there was no info on this in the manual, it seems very unlikely.    


    Another significant change is that movement is no longer agility-based.  Now  like Fire Emblem, you will move your units first, then the enemy moves his  units.  Then it's your turn again.  In the previous game, the order in which  units moved was based on agility, so if you had 3 units with the highest  agility, you moved them, then if the enemy had the next highest agility  unit, he would move his next.  And so on.    


    If anything, these changes seem to have actually improved Tactics Ogre  Gaiden over Tactics Ogre.  Although they might have made the game slightly  easier.  We'll see after more play.    


    I was unable to test the Quest Mode since it requires of course, a 2nd copy of the game.


    6
    TalkBack / RE:Fire Emblem Interview
    « on: October 04, 2005, 11:34:08 AM »
    A few things.

    First of all, while I miss Maniac mode, evidently our Hard mode is harder than the Japanese one. I'm not positive though until I play it. But Maniac was insanely hard. I loved it, but I don't think most people over here would even finish a mission, let  alone the whole game as it. I'd have preferred as a "super secret unlockable", but you can't have everything! I'm just so happy that Fire Emblem is finally out in English and is getting the attention it deserves!

    One of the more gnawing questions that I have wanted to ask (and thankfully got answered!) was about the names. It is very jarring to go from Tiamat to Titiana, or Noel to Knoll. While I may not 100% agree with that decision, their reasoning is sound. That and the fact that they have such close contact with Intelligent Systems is always a great thing in my books.  

    7
    Thanks for all the questions. Look for the interview later on this week on PGC.

    8
    I'll be conducting an interview with Rich Amtower of Treehouse to talk about Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance for the GameCube, which is being released this fall in North America.

    If you're a big Fire Emblem fan and would like to ask a question, post it here and the best ones will be selected for the interview!  

    9
    TalkBack / Monolith Software title blowout!
    « on: September 14, 2005, 12:07:32 PM »
    Xenosaga I & II, Baten Kaitos II, oh my!

    This weeks Famitsu reveals that three new Monotlith Software games are coming to Nintendo systems near you.    


    Baten Kaitos gets the prequel treatment as Nintendo decides to publish Baten Kaitos II for the GameCube. Asides from being set twenty years prior to the events in Baten Kaitos, not much is known about the title. The kicker is that the game is supposed to come out December 2005.    


    The story centric Xenosaga series is coming to the DS -- remade in a 2D format. Expect long cutscenes and plenty of FMV cinematics. The game will also feature a password code to interact with the new Xenosaga III title for PS2.  


    10
    TalkBack / RE:Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Import Review
    « on: August 30, 2005, 11:22:14 AM »
    Alright a few things:

    There is an easy mode. This is probably closest to "normal" on the GBA versions, so don't completely freak out. :P I'm just happy that finally we've got a difficult Fire Emblem game --if you want to. IntSys seems to finally have come to an accomodation between pleasing hardcore fans from the SFC era like myself, while still keeping the game "accessible" to people new to the series.  Maniac makes me happy. But lord is it hard. (That's a good thing.)

    No, you can't change the difficultly level midway through the game. You'd have to start over. The game'll let you know if you're above or below your skill level within about four chapters in. (About an hour).

    As for Blacksmithing and Skills and everything else that's new, there's an optional tutorial that shows you how it works. You can skip over it if you like but it's in there so it'll be explained to you. Also, you can just try it out and see. Skills are really self explanitory. Blacksmithing is fun, if expensive. Remember you can press the X button to get a "description" of the item you're looking at too.

    As for it being the Game of the Year, I'd definately vote so, and I adore RE4. Heh.

    I hope this helps, and ensures a few more Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance purchases. Heh.  

    11
    TalkBack / Resident Evil to Nintendo DS!
    « on: August 24, 2005, 09:13:21 AM »
    Now you can have a zombie in your pocket! Wait, is that a good thing?

    In this week's Famitsu, it was revealed that Resident Evil will be making its way onto Nintendo's new portable system, just in time for Biohazard's 10th anniversary.    


    Essentially a remake (yes another one) of the original PlayStation Resident Evil, it is not yet clear whether the game will be going fully 3D or not. There are screens showing off a new First Person camera angle, but whether this is a bonus mode or not is not clear at this time.    


    Graphics appear slightly better than the original PSX release, though there are no official screenshots released as of yet. There's no word yet on extras on this new game, but one neat little detail is that evidently players will have to wipe blood off the screen after shooting zombies in a particularly gruesome fashion.    


    More details as they're released.  


    12
    TalkBack / New Super Mario Bros. Trailer!
    « on: May 17, 2005, 03:38:15 PM »
    You want more Mario on DS?

    Weighing in at 30 MB, the New Super Mario Bros. trailer for the DS has hit PGCTorrent.     Be sure to check out the torrent!


    13
    TalkBack / Hi-Res Fire Emblem GC Trailer!
    « on: May 17, 2005, 02:59:37 PM »
    We've set up another beautiful trailer on BitTorrent!

    With Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance coming soon to a GameCube near you, it'd be a shame to not share this 33 MB download.    


    Again, we have a torrent up on our tracker, so be sure to take a gander at Intelligent System's new console offering!  


    14
    TalkBack / RE:Hi-res Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess trailer!
    « on: May 17, 2005, 11:04:23 AM »
    If you can't wait for slow servers, we've got just the torrent for you!

    Weighing in at just over 77 MB, the new Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess trailer has been melting servers left and right.    


    For those of you familiar with the file-sharing program BitTorrent, we have another option. Thanks to the magic of the internet, PGC has an official E3-only  bittorrent tracker running, which can be viewed here, and at the moment has a torrent file of the exciting new trailer.      


    Unfamiliar with BitTorrent? Follow these quick and easy steps.    


  • Download and install BitTorrent  
  • Left click on the torrent  link  
  • When your browser prompts you to, choose to "open file" with BitTorrent.  
  • Observe in amazement as you're downloading with speed!


  • 15
    TalkBack / Final Fantasy I & II to GBA!
    « on: April 08, 2004, 03:42:42 PM »
    Two classic games, one cart!

    It appears that the original Final Fantasy series will be resurrected on the GBA. Square-Enix has unveiled its latest release of Final Fantasy I&II Advance.


    The titles appear to be retooled ports of the WonderSwan Colour remakes, and will be released as a single cartridge.


    Final Fantasy, as many gamers fondly recall, had the Light Warriors fighting the evil machinations of CHAOS. By choosing from a variety of classes, there were multiple ways of playing the game.


    Final Fantasy II, on the other hand is a much more story-centric title. With four pre-defined characters and a variety of weapons to master, it took the series in an entirely new direction.  


    Special thanks to jonnyram of GA Forums


    16
    Here we go.

    As for your points about my complaints of slowness -- you just don't notice it. I've played many Strategy, SRPG and RPG games, and let me tell you, this game among the most boringly slow there is. Skies of Arcadia slow, and while I love that game, it nearly had me tearing my hair out whenever a battle started.

    For you, those 5 seconds seem like nothing, I've timed it, and each weapon set takes at least 3 or four seconds to load from the GC disc. Each phase on average takes at least 30 seconds in loading. The sheer amount of bad animations just build up over time and bored me to tears. Every good Strategy game, SRPG or CARD game, for that matter usually has an option to turn the animations off -- Sonic Team could have EASILY implemented such an option but failed to do so. It's also extremely tedious to go through the offline Story Mode to simply open up new characters to use. Some of the more boring battles I've ever played in a Card/Strat/SRPG type game.

    It's great that you like the game, as my significant other does ,but the game simply is marred by the slow as hell animations. Try playing a game like Fire Emblem, Tactics Ogre or Advance WARS. The difference in speed will quickly become apparent.

    As for the graphics, PSO III is more at home on the DC. I don't particularly MIND them, but they are clearly not in line with the rest of the "good looking" GC library, and I had to score it accordingly. I'm not expecting it to look like RE either, but for the piddly amount of characters onscreen at ANY given time (including four ARKZ players), the graphics are simply not up to par.

    A game like Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles has *more* characters onscreen and isn't turn based and looks absolutely gorgeous. Sonic Team was known for their graphic engines back in the DC era, so it's particularly disappointing that PSO III simply isn't among one of their better looking games.

    The framerate does much of its dropping WHILE the camera is panning, or when you're running around the lobbies. Pressing L will quickly chop the framerate in half. I'd like to note that I did mention the excellent illustrations within the review. However, looking the main graphics of the game, PSO III simply does not hold up. These are the same character models with almost no refinements since PSO version 1, for DreamCast. From 2000.

    As for the online getting 10.0 and the gameplay getting a 6.0: some people get addicted. Case in point: my significant other. He's been playing almost non-stop (asides from the FF:CC marathons,) and keeps building more decks. If you enjoy the game remotely (and I did enjoy it to some extent), the real game is online.

    Again, playing online can help the game considerably-- as I noted in my review. But only if you have a GC keyboard to help pass the time between turns. I would have enjoyed it alot more if it wasn't for those faults that you're overlooking -- which is fine. My significant other likes alot of it, but he's also played alot of Yu-Gi-Oh, and finds PSO slow, but like you and many others, are willing to sit through it because of the fact he can play online against thousands of people.

    Considering the Control score: that's an average score that I give to games that don't innately anger me, but nothing absolutely mind-blowing revolutionary. I've bitched about the walking for a few steps since PSO ver1 on DC. Oh, and the control is much better now that it isn't needing to select enemies. (That so-called "lock on" from PSO I and II was trash pure and simple.)

    For sound, I just happened to not like the OST. I liked PSO I and II's OST quite a bit and PSO III just didn't do it for me. I do happen to like a couple of the Arena themes, but the opening in particular absolutely puts my teeth on edge. It's an opinion. Not to mention the "announcer" who constantly likes to remind one that it's time to "Change", etc and so forth.

    As for me not liking card games, I think you're mistaken. Take a look at my Baten Kaitos review or even my Lost Kingdoms review. I happened to enjoy both games, (BK moreso than LK) and I graded them accordingly. Both BK and LK manage to do something Sonic Team should have been able to: make the game play well. They had a great basis but they managed to screw it up in implementation.


    I hope you understand my point of view now.  

    17
    No, you won't find it because I happen to be an idiot.

    The actual sentence is supposed to be: "The inclusion of Wesker’s Report DVD was a nice addition for the PS2 version, but hardly necessary and as such wasn't included in the GameCube version. "

    However, I must have written part of the sentence and come back to it later and totally forgotten what I was saying. I'm quite embarrassed that I missed it on my revisions.

    So feel free to laugh at me. I deserve it.

    18
    TalkBack / Konami Infiltrates Silicon Knights HQ!
    « on: March 15, 2004, 02:38:19 PM »
    It's the boxes. So hypnotizing... there is nothing in the box.... nothing in the box....

    Now that Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes has been released, it looks like Konami is a little bit interested in finding out just who Silicon Knights are. So, they decided to send one of their secret agents to infiltrate SK HQ.  


    Sneaking around like a certain other Konami "agent" their man successfully manages to bypass the considerable security and meet up with the legendary "Big Boss" Denis Dyack... complete with pictures of their final showdown!


    Readers should be warned, this very amusing article makes plenty of spoiler-filled references to MGS: TTS. But people interested in the inner-doings of Silicon Knights will be delighted at the amount of pictures and give a few insights to life in St. Catherines.


     


    19
    TalkBack / Naruto: Gekitou Taisen! 2 review
    « on: February 14, 2004, 01:34:27 PM »
    Naruto 2's Review has been posted. Feel free to discuss it here.  

    20
    TalkBack / RE:Baten Kaitos Review
    « on: February 12, 2004, 02:30:20 AM »
    Baten Kaitos reminds me much more of his Valkyrie Profile work -- one of my favourite games in years. That's probably the reason for my bias.

    Also, I really don't recommend importing unless you have a very good grounding in written Japanese, especially Kanji. It can be impossible to know what to do next. Still a fun battle system though.

    Oh and I've heard it's coming to Europa, so I'm sure the US is a lock.  

    21
    TalkBack / Baten Kaitos Review
    « on: February 11, 2004, 03:46:27 PM »
    Oh my, that Tengu has nipple tassels. I feel… violated somehow.

    Looking back on Monolith’s history, the outlook for Baten Kaitos was rather grim. Previously, the only games that had made it out of the software company’s doors were pretentiously overwritten titles that had little in the way of satisfying gameplay. Not something to get one excited about their newest creation, to be sure.

    However, as unlikely as it may seem, Monolith’s first GameCube title is fun. The basis for the gameplay comes from Magnus Cards, magical artifacts that enable a user to use a variety of attacks and ‘defensive maneuvers’. Evidently in ages past, Magnus was the power that defeated an evil deity. People around the world fought together to seal the beast in the barren earth, while they found a future in the sky. Some people have the ability to form ethereal wings out of sheer will when under duress. Baten Kaitos’ story follows one of those people, Kalas.

    It should be noted that Baten Kaitos not only has a multitude of written Japanese (foremost being the complicated Kanji alphabet), but also has little in the way of voice acting. People unable to read the language should probably avoid importing as it can become difficult to understand what to do next.

    At any rate, Kalas and his band of warriors are trying to prevent the use of the End Magnus, special Magnus Cards said to hold the doom of the world. The player has a more active role in Baten Kaitos other than assuming the avatar of Kalas. The game puts the player in the role of spirit advisor to Kalas and party. Players will be asked to input their name and gender. Occasionally, Kalas will ask you a question, and your decision will affect the way the scenario play out.

    Though the game is developed by Monolith, Baten Kaitos feels like something straight from tri-Ace. Even the presentation of the menus and signature “save notice” are present. Considering the fact that the battle director of tri-Ace’s Valkyrie Profile is in charge of Baten Kaitos, it’s pretty obvious where the similarities come from.

    The backgrounds of Baten Kaitos are all pre-rendered, along the lines of Resident Evil. However, the backdrops of Baten Kaitos put much of the two survival horror games to shame. Leaves flutter in the breeze; clouds rolls in from the highlands. It’s all extremely beautiful, regardless of the fact that it’s FMV. Taking inspiration from Art Nouveau and the Inca-Mayan cultures, Baten Kaitos’ art direction is a wonder to behold. Unfortunately, not everything lives up to the outstanding locales. Character models aren’t the nigh perfect polygonal Olympians of Capcom’s titles, but instead are quite average. Animations too, are nowhere near the quality one would expect of an otherwise pre-rendered title. In fact, there are quite a few enemies that look like they were taken from a Dreamcast rendering environment, considering how few polygons were left to them.

    Motoi Sakuraba crafted the music for this epic and he certainly doesn’t let down. Baten Kaitos’ soundtrack is considerably better than in the recent Tales of Symphonia and is probably one of his best in years. Battle music is varied and equally excellent; the adrenaline-pumping themes he is most famous for are out in full force. In addition, Baten Kaitos runs in Dolby Pro Logic II sound, so gamers with the right equipment can enjoy the aural treats even more. Unfortunately, like the FMV backgrounds, there is a down-side to the audio. The little voice acting there is during cut scenes sounds like it is coming from a tin can. The battle voice-clips, fortunately, fare much better, and are clear and varied.

    Using cards for every action and defense, Baten Kaitos’ battle system is certainly unique. Instead of buying weapons and armour, players will have their characters use different cards for the same effect. Each character can hold a certain amount of cards in their deck, which increases with class levels. Kalas fights with a sword and dagger, and uses those kinds of cards within his battle deck. Cards come in different types and strengths. For instance, a long sword is a much stronger attack than say a short dagger.  By finding new and better Magnus, players can upgrade their characters’ attacks. While in battle, the player will choose a card. The character will then attack using the power of the Magnus card. Each action a character takes is determined by the Magnus that was selected.

    In addition to physical attacks, there are also elemental powers. Certain enemies are aligned with certain elements and it is prudent to attack them with the opposite. Fire and Water are opposing forces, as is Earth with Wind and Light with Dark. Physical attacks are considered neutral. The way the system is set up really increases the level of sophistication required to pull off successful combos and attacks, as each enemy (especially the bosses) requires certain elemental attacks to get huge bonus damage. So if you have Kalas attack a Fire Elemental enemy with an Ice Dagger card, he’ll cause bonus damage because of the elemental bonuses.

    Elements work both ways as well. You see, elemental damages are independent of other attacks. There is a screen that pops up after an attack (either from the player or enemy) that shows how the damage breaks down. So if you are attacked physically, you must use a physical card to defend. If you are attacked with a Fire element, you must use Water to negate it. No matter how high your physical Magnus might be, the Fire damage is calculated independently. It is therefore necessary to use Ice Armour to negate the Fire damage. Confusing? It is as first, but as one plays longer, it becomes quite normal. In addition, if you use a Fire attack and then a Water attack, the two elements will cancel each other out, depending on how strong each was. If the Fire attack was fifteen and the Water was eight, the corresponding damage would be considered to be seven Fire. In this way, Baten Kaitos encourages players to manage their decks appropriately and not merely choose cards at random.

    Healing items are also in Magnus form. Some can be added to the battle deck, while others are used via the menu. Battle deck cards are reusable, while the others are considered consumables. The most interesting thing about the Magnus Card system is that cards will change over time. One might find an Unripe Banana card, which causes damage when used, but then eventually ripens and becomes a healing item. Eventually the Ripe Banana will rot and then become unusable. Milk will turn into cheese, grapes into wine. Weapon cards will degrade slowly, especially if they’re used to defend.

    The most interesting aspect of the battle system is how combos are formed. In the most basic sense, every string of attacks a character makes is a “combo”. As characters gain class levels, they not only get a bigger battle deck, but also can use more cards within one attack turn. But there’s more to it than that. Occasionally, characters will find “Combo Enders” which must be preceded by a normal attack, and when chosen will end the combo string with an extremely powerful attack. In essence, if Kalas can use four cards in a turn, and he chooses one of his super moves (the Combo Ender) after the first card, he won’t be able to choose two more cards. So, in most cases, players will choose it last. In addition to these “obvious” super moves, there are also secret combos. These require a random combination of cards that will then transform one of your existing cards within your hand into an extremely powerful move. These require extra cards like a “dead branch” or “bonsai tree” to get the effect. While they’re very fun to discover they are rather, obscure. After doing a variety of moves with Kalas, the CHEESE turns into “Hellfire”. That is pretty bloody weird. However, there are hints given out at times on how to unlock the secret power of your cheese.

    Outside of battle, characters will still use Magnus Cards in their everyday lives. Near the beginning of the game, Kalas receives five “Blank Magnus Cards” and is able to copy items onto them. This is mainly used in side-quests, where someone may need milk or water. Simply go to a cow or a stream and then copy the needed item into your Quest Magnus. It can also be used to penetrate dungeons. If a dead log is in your way, copy fire from a fireplace and use it to burn the offending object to ashes.

    Characters level-up by visiting a shrine. After gaining enough experience, Kalas and crew can visit the priest there and level-up. With enough experience, they can gain class levels, which allow for larger battle decks and longer attack turns. It seems a little strange since really it isn’t all that different from normal RPG leveling-up, with the exception that the player must do it manually.

    The only thing that is severely under-developed is the fact that money really isn’t a necessity. Baten Kaitos wants to be a dungeon crawler, but due to the story and locales, it isn’t possible. Money can be obtained by taking pictures of enemies and selling them, but outside of that, there is no real method of making money. In fact, the only things that can be purchased in shops are battle Magnus, and players will find much better ones within dungeons and after battles. The only real reason to buy anything is to purchase the consumable healing cards to be used outside of battle. Considering the amount of healing cards available in one’s battle deck, it really isn’t an issue.

    All in all, Baten Kaitos is a fun, addictive ride. Battles, the heart of the game, are very addictive, and any RPGer should do himself a favour and check this title out—as long as you are able to wade through the leagues of Kanji. Hopefully, Namco Hometek will be localizing this title for English audiences. Baten Kaitos may not be a “normal” Japanese RPG, but that is no reason to pass it up.



    Pros:
    • Breathtaking FMV background are animated with a subtle beauty
    • Soundtrack to die for
    • Addictive combo-laden battle system
    • So you use a dead branch, a chicken and then get the SuperUltraC-C-C-C-Combo? …Uhhh… that’s so cool



    Cons:
    • Some enemies look like they were abducted from the Dreamcast
    • Monsters immediately reappear after leaving the screen
    • No real need for shops or money
    • So you use a dead branch, a chicken and then get the SuperUltraC-C-C-C-Combo? …Uhhh… that’s so weird


    Graphics  7.5

    The FMV backgrounds put Resident Evil to shame, but unfortunately that’s about it. Character, NPCs, and enemies look particularly low-poly in comparison to their surroundings. Animations can also look a little on the weird side.

    Sound 9.0

    The game not only has one of the best soundtracks Motoi Sakuraba has ever written, but it also happens to be fully orchestrated and uses Pro Logic II. Sadly, the cut-scene voice acting (what little there is) sounds worse than RE2 for the N64. Get some MusyX already!

    Controls  7.0

    Nothing inventive but nothing annoying.

    Gameplay 8.0

    Why hello there tri-Ace… eh? Oh yes, I forgot. Monolith. It plays like a tri-Ace game through and through. Emphasizing on devastating combos and playability, it’s absolutely addictive once you get into it. Baten Kaitos’s Card system works surprisingly well. In addition, the idea that Magnus Cards are a universal item really brings the world together. However, the cards are dealt randomly, and as such can be a pain when one simply does not have the right card for the situation. Hence, the absolutely pathetic difficulty level.

    Lastibility  6.0

    Unfortunately, once you’ve finished the game once, there isn’t much more to it.  

    Final Score (Not an average): 8.0

    While it comes off as a highly-experimental game design, Baten Kaitos doesn’t fall flat on its face. With an engaging card battling system, gorgeous locales, and some really interesting design choices, Monolith has proven that they can make a quality title. Not that it hurts to have the battle director of Valkyrie Profile on your side.
     

    22
    TalkBack / RE:Baten Kaitos Impressions
    « on: January 07, 2004, 01:32:59 AM »
    The story so far in Baten Kaitos is a bit clichéd, to be sure. However, it doesn't make me violently sick like the Xeno-games do. I think it's because Takahashi has nearly nothing to do with the game. BK has a very "tri-Ace" feel to it and that makes me happy.

    And yes, Kanji sucks.  

    23
    TalkBack / Baten Kaitos Impressions
    « on: January 06, 2004, 12:51:46 PM »
    If anyone even mentions "One Winged Angel," zey vill be SHOT.

    Impressions by Zosha Arushan

    Namco's second exclusive RPG for GameCube is developed by Monolith Soft, the same company behind Xenosaga and Xenogears. Both games feature extremely pretentious, poorly written plots without much of anything else -- definitely not my cup of tea. So it was with some trepidation that I delved into their latest project.

    Baten Kaitos features many lengthy cut-scenes full of evil kanji. This coupled with a marked lack of voice acting makes it very difficult for players who do not have a good knowledge of written Japanese. While the game does not currently have an American release date, it would be best for non-speakers to wait until the game is localized. If however, you are able to muck through the hieroglyphs, Video Game Depot can handle your import urges.

    The opening FMV tells of a time when humans defeated an evil, power-hungry deity. Upon sealing it, the people fled to islands in the sky, living happily above the barren earth. Some people have the ability to sprout "spiritual wings" when under duress, which allow them to fly. The young hero Kalas is one of these people. Unfortunately, he only has one wing. Somewhere along the way, it appears he ran into a prosthetic, and thus is able to fly.

    One of the interesting things about Baten Kaitos is the fact that the player himself is included in the game. When beginning a new game, you’re asked to enter both your name and gender. Appearing to Kalas as some sort of spiritual guide, he'll ask you for advice from time to time. If an NPC character can explain some sort of gameplay mechanic, Kalas will ask you if you'd like to listen to what he'll say. It's a neat little feature that helps pull one into the game world.

    Considering the battle director also directed Valkyrie Profile, it's good to see that fighting monsters has that "tri-Ace" touch. (It's particularly cute to note that the opening boot-up features the logo of "tri-Crescendo", which has a mirror image to that of tri-Ace's. Very cute.) As mentioned in many a preview, the battle system uses cards. However, this doesn't make it a typical Card RPG. Each card is a kind of command. Some are more powerful than others, plus there are Elemental Cards to use to your advantage. For instance, Kalas can find and use the card "Ice Dagger". When he attacks, not only will he do Physical Damage, but there will also be Ice Damage. The interesting part is that not only attacks are cards. Player's armour is also denoted in cards. When an enemy attacks, one is allowed to select a card. If the card is as strong as or stronger than the attack, it will completely negate it. However if the attack includes an "Elemental" attack, and the defense armour does not, then the character will be hit for the full Elemental damage.

    Sounds confusing, but it really isn't. Fire and Water are opposites. So if one is attacked with Fire, one must use an Ice defense card and vice versa. The same applies to Earth and Wind, as well as Light and Dark. This can be used against the enemy as well. If an enemy has an affinity to any of the Elements and you attack with the opposite, you'll get a mega damage bonus. Another interesting aspect is that if you attack with two opposing elements the same turn, the Elemental Damage will be canceled out. So if you attack with a weapon that has a Water Count of fifteen and one with a Fire Count of eighteen, you'll end up doing three Fire points of damage overall.

    Thus far, enemy battles have been rather easy, and I suspect it is because Monolith didn't want to hear from gamers complaining that they didn't get the right card (since it is randomly shuffled) and therefore met an untimely end.

    Cards don't only prove useful in battle. It seems that these "Magnus Cards" have to do with everything in daily life. Early in the game, Kalas will get a set of four "Blank Magnus". Kalas can then copy items or other things onto the blank cards and use them later. In one case, by copying a wood stove's fire onto a card, it is possible to burn a log that is blocking the way to a treasure chest. Players also accomplish side quests by copying things like milk or apples to their Blank Magnus. Very strange. Even consumable items to heal characters are cards.

    So far Baten Kaitos has proven to have a very fun battle system and an interesting premise. Considering that I was far from pleased with Monolith's previous efforts, Baten Kaitos has been a significant improvement.

    24
    TalkBack / RE:Tales of Symphonia Review
    « on: December 15, 2003, 02:12:09 PM »
    Quote

    Originally posted by: KDR_11k
    Still, claiming this to be the best third party game for GC and giving it "just" 9/10...


    Read the review, not the score.

    Considering that 10 is "near perfect" on PGC's scale, I could not grade it accordingly due to one or two problems. Namely, the absolutely horrific overworld graphics and the slight multiplayer camera issues.

    I stand by my statements, Symphonia is one of the best games out this year for any system.

    25
    TalkBack / New Famitsu scores!
    « on: April 17, 2003, 05:50:30 PM »
    Fire Emblem and Giftpia have been reviewed!

    In this week's Famitsu two of our more anticipated titles were reviewed. Skip Ltd's self-proclaimed "Alternative RPG", Giftpia netted a Gold Award with an overall score of 35 (8,9,9,9). The reviewers said that though initial impressions showed the game was for children, it offered nice puzzle elements, great characters and a wonderful score. It's similar to Animal Crossing since players can dig, collect, and fish. In this unique RPG there are no experience points, and the theme is to "grow up".


    Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken also received a gold award for its score of 34 (9,9,8,8) and the reviewers praised the very friendly tutorial system. It stays true to the series and features great characters and scenarios.  


    Here are this week's Top 30 notables:


    1 Dragon Quest Monsters Caravan Heart ( 2nd to 1st)
    4 Made in Wario (6th to 4th)
    6 Pokemon Ruby / Sapphire (8th to 6th)
    8 The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past and Four Swords (9th to 8th)


    16 Soul Calibur II (GC) (7th to 16th)
    5 Final Fantasy X-2 (slides behind Made in Wario)
    3 Second Super Robot Taisen Alpha (1st to 3rd)


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