Monday, February 07, 2011

Game Diary: Looking Forward

Firstly, following on from last weeks column - Namco has announced that Tales of Graces F is going to be released in North America. This is great news as that means that due to the fact that the PS3 is region free (something I only learned recently) I can import the game. In regards to Tales of Vesperia, I now have 30 hours on the clock and am still enjoying it immensely. The plot is starting to get pretty heavy now, and is very compelling. Yesterday afternoon I had intended to just play for a little bit, but set some events in motion that I had to see through to the end before going to bed. I did eventually get through that particular plot strand just before I normally turn in, and now have all my party members back with me. That means I can take some time to explore the world and enjoy the many optional activities, such as guild quests, giganto monsters, and mini games aplenty. My target is to have completed the game by the 11th of March, and there's still over a month to go so that shouldn't be a problem at all.

This is because Dragon Age 2 is released on that day, and I already have my copy of the the Signature Edition pre ordered. Many people voiced concerns that the game would be considerably dumbed down compared to the first game because what Bioware was saying and showing indicated that they were taking the franchise down a much more action oriented path this time, but from recent footage and what I've heard about it, those fears were unfounded. The game has been streamlined and made more suitable for consoles, that's for sure, but it looks as if it will offer the same amount of depth as the original. I have faith that it will be another fantastic RPG from Bioware, who have yet to produce a bad game.

Click on the image to view full size and see what the Signature Edition entails

The act of pre ordering Dragon Age 2 was at least premeditated, but I have also pre ordered another game that I hadn't intended on buying quite so soon. That game is Radiant Historia for the DS, due to be released on the 22nd of February. You can blame Atlus's canny marketing for this one, because first my interest was piqued after listening to a representative from the company talking about the game on the Active Time Babble podcast. It does sound like a very good game - a JRPG that will take around 30 hours to get through on the first playthrough, but due to the implementation of a time travel mechanic also features many more hours of optional content and multiple endings. Comparisons have been made to Chrono Trigger, regarded by most as the pinnacle of RPG's on a 16-bit system. What sealed the deal and made me bite though is the limited edition first run of the game that comes with a soundtrack CD featuring special piano renditions of some of the songs by composer Yoko Shimomura. I received an email from Video Games Plus saying that I would have to order by the end of the weekend in order to secure a copy, and that was enough to get me adding the game to my cart.

Of course there is also another major release on the horizon - that of the Nintendo 3DS. I have also pre ordered my console, and should just about have enough money to buy it by the time it's released on the 25th of March. Of the two colours that have been announced, I will probably go for the blue one. The most exciting thing about the machine for me is not actually the fact that it plays games in 3D - not by a long stretch, but actually the combination of a more powerful handheld with a nice big screen and cartridges that can hold up to 32GB of data. It truly has the potential for some amazing games. The actual range of titles available on launch day is a bit of an unknown quantity, as though around 50 games have been unveiled, they are all scheduled for the "launch window" - which is up to 6 months after the launch of the actual machine. The ones I'm looking forward to though are the next Mario Kart, Pilotwings and Kid Icarus: Uprising. I don't really need another version of Ocarina of Time, as I have the N64 cartridge, the Zelda Collectors Edition disc for the Gamecube and the virtual console release for the Wii.

That's almost all for this week, the only thing left to say is that I hope to have a write up of the South Coast Slam that took place this weekend just gone fairly soon, where I will tell you what I consider to be the five best games of the show, along with the top five picks from my brother and good friend Kim. I'll also be back with another game diary entry next week.

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