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Showing posts with label rpg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rpg. Show all posts

Sakura Wars Returns with Flying Colours (PS4 Review)

The Sakura Wars (aka Sakura Taisen) series is possibly Sega's worst-kept secret, at least for us in the West. Most Dreamcast fans have probably encountered it at some point, but without the ability to understand the Japanese language, most have not proceeded further. This Japanese steampunk-themed tactical RPG series was a massive hit in its country of origin, spawning sequels and spin-offs, as well as crossing into other forms of media. As I'm writing this, the Sakura Wars multi-media franchise has surpassed over 4 million units shipped in Japan.

Despite the series' massive success, Sakura Wars was probably deemed too culturally-different for Western gamers, probably due to its heavy use of unfamilar (at least, back in the late '90s and early 00's), visual novel/dating simulation-style gameplay. The only Sakura Wars game from the original batch to be localised into English was the fifth game in the franchise, Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love (released on the Wii and PS2). Most would probably agree that it wasn't the best entry the series had to offer, but hey, at least it was something. The series would then remain untouched for many years.
This was no small franchise. A big thanks to our very own Mike for the pics.
But Sakura Wars has stepped back onto the stage and into the limelight once again. Sega have blessed us with a worldwide (albeit, staggered) release of a flashy modern-gen reboot of Sakura Wars, exclusively for PlayStation 4. Developed by Sega's CS2 R&D department, Sakura Wars saw involvement from new and returning staff; including veteran Sega producer Tetsu Katano, director Tetsuya Otsubo and music composer Kohei Tanaka. Tite Kubo, the creator of manga ultra-hit Bleach was responsible for the designs of the main cast of characters. There was also guest artists like BUNBUN (Sword Art Online), Ken Sugimori (Pokémon) and Shigenori Soejima (Persona), who contributed their talents towards the designs of various supporting characters. It's clear from such star studded pedigree that Sega really pulled out all the stops for this one, and as an owner of a pre-order copy that turned up three days too early, I'm happy to confirm that it resulted in a big success. If you're a fan of Sakura Wars, you'll be happy to know Sega have done the franchise the justice it deserves. If you're new to Sakura Wars, this is the perfect entry point.

Indie Review: Powder

I'm going to level with you: I don't particularly like RPGs. While I can totally appreciate why a lot of people love them, I've just never got on with sprawling story arcs, random battles, item collection and all of the other aspects one would generally associate with the genre. I'm also totally aware that there are many, many sub-genres within this particular channel of gaming and that to say I don't like RPGs is probably a little bit short sighted on my part. I mean, I really enjoyed Link's Awakening on the Game Boy and Ocarina of Time on the N64, have battled through all of the Mass Effect games and even got pretty far into Virtual Hydlide on the Saturn before the desire to vomit explosively enveloped me...but those aren't really the kinds of game I'm talking about.

I'm talking about learning spells, calculating hit points and wading through loads of text. Frankly, I just find traditional RPGs boring. That's just my (admittedly ignorant) opinion and I totally respect that people reading this may have just spat either cornflakes or a Pot Noodle (or both?) all over their computer or phone screen, but I haven't even attempted to play Skies of Arcadia yet because I just know what I'm going to get in that particular package; and I spent about 8 minutes playing Final Fantasy 7 before I removed it from my PlayStation and stuck Alien Trilogy back in. You can take a horse (me) to water (RPGs), but you can't make it drink (play them). Brackets were used in that last metaphor to clarify what I was trying to convey with my cack-handed grasp of wurds and stuff. Keeping that last sentence at the forefront of your cerebellum, allow me to explain that very recently I was made aware of a home brew roguelike RPG that has been ported to the Dreamcast and can be played using an SD Reader.

Powder started life as a Game Boy Advance project and is the brainchild of programmer Jeff Lait. Writing on the Powder website, Jeff explains that the game was borne out of his desire to play a roguelike RPG on his handheld:

"I created POWDER for one simple reason: I wanted a roguelike on my GBA. The standard RPGs were annoying me with endless battle screens against weak enemies to unfold a drug induced plotline. I wanted a game I could just jump into, and start killing things. Having had more hours than I'd care to log playing Nethack, ADOM, and the Diablos, I knew the exact type of game I wanted. The problem was I didn't see anyone publishing it any time soon."

Since the GBA original, Powder has been ported to various other formats including the Nintendo DS, Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Recently though, Dreamcast.es forum admin Indiket successfully translated the source over to the Dreamcast and the source has - rather helpfully - been turned into an SD Reader-compatible ISO file by DCeric so that morons like me can get involved and begin dungeon crawling.

RPGs Across the Board; or, Grandia II - The Beginning

One of my favorite genres of video games is the RPG. I'm not overly attached to the turn-based combat (although I have come to like it over the years): I like the stories, and the bigger RPGs have great composers, like Final Fantasy, or the Mario RPGs. I had at least one RPG on most of my major systems, like the PlayStation, Gamecube, Gameboy etc...but something was amiss.

I had no RPGs for the Dreamcast! And because my current system had no affordable games available at the time, I made it a goal to get at least one good game. Fortunately, my brother had received a gift card to a local retrogaming shop. I had gotten Final Fantasy 7-9 there, so I hoped that they would have at least one good Dreamcast RPG. They had two.

The Elysian Shadows Kickstarter has launched, bringing a new RPG to the SEGA Dreamcast!

 

The Elysian Shadows Kickstarter has officially launched. Dubbed a “next-gen” 2D RPG, the game is slated to hit a number of platforms including our beloved SEGA Dreamcast. The Dreamcast release starts at the $49 level in the Standard Edition which comes in two flavors, signed and unsigned. The signed edition is limited to 100 copies. The $125 level features a Collector’s Edition of the game with several physical goodies that are only digital in the lower tiers.

As far as stretch goals, should the project hit $400,000, the team plans to create a monster training VMU mini-game, while $500,000 will open to game up to the modding community (Dreamcast included).

Make sure to check out the project, and if it appeals to you, show your support!