rpg

Suikoden Tierkreis

Guest First Hour Review

Suikoden Tierkreis CoverSuikoden Tierkreis for the Nintendo DS is the newest edition to the classic RPG series released last month. It's the first portable original RPG in the series and features all the mainstays, including 108 Stars of Destiny (heroes), turn-based combat, an epic story, and random battles. Tierkreis is German for "zodiac." What that has to do with the game, I do not know, something to do with the Stars of Destiny maybe?

This is of course a guest review by my friend Grant. He recently reviewed the first hour of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and offered to review his newest purchase. We're both big fans of the Suikoden series, though we've played completely different games. I've played 1, 2, and 4, while Grant has played 3, 5, and now Tierkreis. I keep trying to get him to play Suikoden 2 as it's one of the best games ever... but as long as he writes for the site, I don't care. Enjoy Grant's review of Suikoden Tierkreis.

Chrono Trigger

Full Review

Chrono Trigger CoverChrono Trigger for the Nintendo DS is the second port of this classic Super Nintendo role-playing game. You guide a group of time-traveling heroes through different time periods to save the world from the alien parasite, Lavos. I'll get my biases out of the way right now and say that the Super Nintendo version is my favorite game of all time. Out of the hundreds of games I've played, Chrono Trigger stands as the undisputed number one. So I had very high expectations for the 2008 portable port of the 1995 original, so let's just get to my review to see if it lives up to the hype... and see if the game has stood the test of time.

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

First Hour Review

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon CoverFire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is a turn-based role-playing strategy game for the Nintendo DS. It is the eleventh game in the popular Fire Emblem series, but is actually a remake of the original Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragons and the Blade of Light which was released in 1990 only in Japan. Turns out this is really the second remake of the first game, but still the first time gamers outside of Japan have experienced it.

So that's a lot of history just on one story, but you might be wondering what Fire Emblem is in the first place. The series has always pretty much played the same way all these years as a turn-based strategy game. A set of heroes takes on a band of bad guys on a grid-based map. You move all your guys at once and then the bad guys go. There's a twist in Fire Emble though, every character on your team has a name and profile, and if they're killed during battle, they're gone for good. That means you either don't get too attached to your characters, or you reload a level a lot.

All right, let's get into the first hour of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.

Lost Odyssey

First Hour Review

Lost Odyssey CoverLost Odyssey is an Xbox 360 role-playing game from Mistwalker, a development studio formed a few years ago by the creator of the Final Fantasy series. This is their second console release, the first being Blue Dragon. Lost Odyssey was released about a year ago and got pretty average reviews, but hey, the game spans four discs. I haven't played a four disc game since Final Fantasy IX, but those were CDs, not DVDs. This makes the game a bit intimidating to even try, but I'm guessing most of the data is taken up by the voices. The game supports five spoken languages! Well, enough about this nonsense, we'll only be playing one hour, and let's get into it.

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

Full Review

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney CoverApollo Justice: Ace Attorney is the latest Ace Attorney game for the Nintendo DS. It's the fourth game in the series and the first to star our new hero, Apollo Justice. This has been a sensitive point for fans as the series has focused on Phoenix Wright for three games, and all of a sudden Capcom decides to go in a different direction. Well, if you've skipped Apollo Justice because of this, you will soon find out you have a game you must play.

I previously reviewed the third Ace Attorney game, Trials and Tribulations, here last year. Check it out if you want to see where the series left off and a basic introduction to the gameplay featured in the games. I'm actually really excited for the next game in the series... well, a new series technically. Perfect Prosecutor: Miles Edgeworth is getting released in Japan in a few months. Courtroom drama and comedy from the other side of the room!

Let's get on with my review of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, all scores are out of 10.

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure

First Hour Review

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure CoverRhapsody: A Musical Adventure is a role-playing musical for the Nintendo DS. Now, when I say musical, I really mean a musical. The cutscenes feature the characters singing songs, in Japanese. This is not a very common genre combination, there have been plenty of musical games, PaRappa the Rapper comes quickly to mind, but that was the whole premise of the game. Here we have a console RPG wrapping periodic musical numbers. And it is made by the developers of the popular Disgaea series, so it can't be all bad, right?

Rhapsody DS came out in September of 2008, and is a re-release of the 2000 PlayStation game. In North America, it has been pigeon-holed as a "girl-game", essentially the kiss of death for any kind of mainstream attention besides the typical, "hey look, a girl game that's not about dolls or ponies!" Well, I didn't know this going in; I hear about an RPG for the DS and it has my attention. Since females supposedly take up a ton of the market now, I think it's my responsibility to play a wide range of games. Well, I'm joking there, but variety is important, and at least now I can say I've played a musical, even for an hour.

Mother 3

Full Review

Mother 3 CoverMother 3 is the sequel to the Super Nintendo RPG, Earthbound. It was released in 2006, but only in Japan. Being the successor to such a popular game, and no hope in sight of Nintendo of America releasing it, fans took it upon themselves to translate it. It took a few years, but the team released their translation patch in October and fans of the series, like me, pounced on it. I won't say I tore through the game, but I definitely dropped all other games to play it.

I was a big fan of Earthbound, so playing this was a no-brainer. It's just unfortunate that fans had to rely on an unofficial translation to play it. No one really knows what Nintendo of America's reasons were for not releasing an English language version, but honestly, they missed their opportunity. This game is brilliant, including the translation. Let's get to the meat. All scores are out of 10.

For a review on just the first hour, check out my Mother 3 review at The First Hour.

Mother 3

First Hour Review

Mother 3 CoverMother 3 is the 2006 sequel to Earthbound that was only released in Japan. However, last month a fan translation was released and now I can play Mother 3 without referring to my Japanese dictionary every ten minutes. The translation is supposedly really good, even for a series that is chock full of humor and puns that take a lot of effort to translate from one language, and culture, to another.

One of the questions on many minds is why wasn't this game officially translated and released outside of Japan? I've been mind boggled about this for two years now and my respect for Nintendo of America definitely went down because of this. Gamers have seen this before with Sin and Punishment, Star Ocean, and even Final Fantasy V, but all of these games eventually saw a translated release. But from everything Nintendo says, Mother 3 will only officially ever be released in Japan. We all scream "why?" because Earthbound was so popular (which, of course, is Mother 2, with Mother never being released outside of Japan either). I think I finally got my answer the other day, when I read this absolutely great review on Mother 3. The reviewer described the game as poetry and that attempting to translate Mother 3 would result just like the generally awful translations of ancient haikus. The rhythm is gone. The original meaning is lost.

But alas, Mother 3 has been translated, and the first hour beckons. For those unaware, Mother 3 is a role-playing game for the Game Boy Advance. And this is actually the first review I've done where I've already reviewed a game in the same series as Earthbound was the second review I ever wrote. Well, let's go.

For a review on just the entire game, check out my Mother 3 review at Beyond the First Hour.

Fallout

First Hour Review

Fallout CoverFallout is a popular computer role-playing game from 1997. Its post-apocalyptic setting, off-beat dark humor, and deep gameplay has kept this game installed on many computers over the last decade. Fallout's fanbase has been pretty steady over the years and with Fallout 3 being released later this month, the focus on this series is really starting to build. So let's take this opportunity and look at where the entire series began, in the first hour of the original Fallout.

Star Ocean: The Second Story

First Hour Review

Star Ocean: The Second Story CoverStar Ocean: The Second Story is an action RPG for the original PlayStation. The game allows the player to make many choices along the way, from what characters will be in your party to how difficult the secret final boss will be. Star Ocean is known for its fun and varied gameplay and its absolutely atrocious, but hilarious voice acting. It was released in the United States back in 1999 but since the first Star Ocean was never released outside of Japan, I'm not really sure how Enix expected it to performed. The game follows the story of two intergalactic strangers and their impact on the future of multiple planets. Let's get into the beginning of that story, as Star Ocean: The Second Story's first hour is about to begin.

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