Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dengeki Reviews Atelier Rorona (90, 85, 80, 75)

Late night so here's a rough translation of all 4 reviews. There doesn't appear to be anything glaringly wrong with with the game sans a clunky item management system. I suppose some can argue that since the game is about crafting with quite a few items, this might be crippling, but none of the reviews were damning so I would assume that the item management is decent but could be better.

Like usual, don't plagiarize please. Thanks in advance.

Original source from 2ch

Dengeki Reviews Atelier Rorona: Alchemist of Arland

Being an Atelier Elie fan, I ended up clearing the entire game very quickly. The story being easy to progress combined with the business associated with being a completionist is very reminiscent of the more traditional Atelier games. Such concepts as a name being nothing more than a decoration and being unable to discern valuable items without having a good grasp of their intrinsic qualities makes you feel like an alchemist and makes the game extremely fun. Increased (new?) aspects such as Homunculs and Overclear increase the degrees of freedom in the game. It's after the 2nd year in Atelier Rorona where the main serving of fun is to be had. Because you do various tasks repeatedly, had they made changes to the long time required for item hunting and being unable to place items directly into storage from a container, the game would have been amazing. (90/100)

You recieve tasks from the government every 3 months, but it's easier to recieve a perfect rating without being pressed for time than had been expected. This allows you to have a bit more freedom in your actions. What you're able to do initially is limited, but as you get used to the game, you'll get your hands on new recipes and gathering grounds, leading to a pretty smooth gameplay. One problem is transferring items from a container to storage; if you were able to transfer the entire content all at once, the game would have been better. Because Rorona's personality is rather ditzy, people might have divided opinions about her as a character based on personal preference. By the way, being a girl, what's up with her sleeping on the couch instead of the bed when she rest?! She looks cute but has some masculine personality aspects (lol) (85/100)

The game's atmosphere has a warmth, just as portrayed in the illustrations. You can craft, search for mats and what not at your own place. The tutorial is easy to follow as well, so newcomers to the series have nothing to worry about. The crafting system is simple. However, due to the fact that the same mats can have differing quality, resulting in various results after crafting, I was able to enjoy the game without encountering monotony. Characters which join your party are wide and varied, thus it should be easy to get into the game regardless of your sex. There's no wildly unfolding plot twists as the story progresses, so take time to spend your hours with your favorite characters in a relaxed manner. (80/100)

While it's in 3D now, the content itself feels like its gone back to its roots. Because there are events that occur regularly (gov't exams), the game is easy to play, and the simple but strategic battles are also fun. Being able to check progression of tasks you've taken on, being able to easily bring up the map screen(?) with 1 button, the ability to have equipment crafted for you and such are all positive aspects of the game. While it's nice that a basket for material gathering and a container (storage) has been prepared, the overall item management is hit or miss. The sort function implementation is awkward (can't make out parenthesis). The camera angles are hit or miss as well. When you want to talk to NPCs, they don't respond unless you get pretty close. If they could have had icons at the very least... (75/100)

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Trinity Universe Info

Like usual, if you're going to use this entry or paraphrase it, please have the decency to indicate the source instead of claiming it as your own.

Looks like e-Digi in Japan released additional Trinity Universe information ahead of any publications or website updates. Here's the entire entry translated.

Game Features and Gameplay
Active Animation Adventure
In order to bring out the appeal of characters, animation aspects have been developed to be included in event scenes so that things such as facial expressions change in real time.
As further examples:
-Accessories, hair, ears, wings move
-Facial parts such as eyes and eyebrows move in tandem as emotions change
-Mouth movements in line with voice
-Changes in poses as event scenes necessitate
-Visual expressions from anime/manga (! icons, blue vertical lines when disappointed, etc)

Unconcious head movements and breathing, smooth changes in emotional expressions help bring the characters to life.

Game Flow
The game primarily consists of events, dungeon searching, and battles.

By examing debris that flows into the world map, you may be able to enter a dungeon, encounter events, etc.

In dungeons, your primary goal is to destroy the gravity well of that particular debris. After finding the gravity well, eliminating the boss guarding it, and destroying the gravity well, you will have a limited time to exit the dungeon. Upon destruction of the gravity well, the space time continuum in the surrounding area becomes unstable. As a result, various rare items will start to be drawn into the local area. If you spend too much time collecting the rare items, you will be unable to escape in time.

If you're unable to escape, instead of being "Game Over", you'll stuck drifting about in space. At this point, sandwiching chat events between party members (and bickering events on occaision), you will need to wait for help from the likes of aliens. Of course, they won't help you out of good will and you will be required to give up earned money and items.

After you've cleared a set number of dungeons, the story will progress with various events and previews being sandwiched (see Cross Edge) in between.

You will have search magic called sensation to search the local area for hidden gravity wells. If no gravity wells are nearby, as a hint, a streak of light will go flying in the direction of a gravity well. In addition to this, you will be able to find hidden rare items and hunting points with sensation, but due to the limit to the number of times you can use sensation, you will need to conduct your searches efficiently using the hints as mentioned above.

Hunting Points
Hunting points are locations which are densely populated by monsters. By searching for them, you'll be able to enter into battle with them in rapid succession. After a set number of battles, the hunting point disappears and your encounters with monsters become non-existant, temporarily, making it possible to search further without interruptions. In addition, by using hunting points, you are able to gather mats for crafting from monsters more efficiently.

You will be able to use materials gathered to synthesize items used to power up your characters.
-In the demonlord scenario, you can use materials to create powerful monsters. Then, by defeating the monsters you create in the "arena", you are able earn items which will increase your stats.

-In the goddess scenario, you can use the materials to create meteorites, which, when multiple are equipped, will allow your characters to gain new skills depending on what combination of meteorites are equipped.

Furthermore, in both scenarios, there is a system called "Mana Graphics" that utilizes these materials.

Mana Graphic
By drawing various designs on your weapons, you will be able to strengthen them. While you're able to change mana graphics based on the enemy weaknesses to exploit them, changing the mana graphics also results in visual changes during battle as well as a variety of different effects.

Excite Encounter
If you spend too long searching a dungeon, a powerful monster (excite monster) will sometimes appear. The encounter won't be sudden. Rather, the monster will gradually chase your party down, with scenes indicating that the monster is doing so. While it is possible to safely escape, if you take the time to prepare for, and defeat the monster, you will be able to obtain rare items and such as a reward.

About the Battle System
Time Encounter Battle
You will have a limited amount of time in the attack phase. Further, attack skills are associated with AP (action points), and the amount of time you have remaining will decrease with AP consumption. The stronger the attack, the more AP will be required to use it. Thus, in order to move the battle forward in your party's favor, you will need to adapt your battle strategy as the situation requires.

One Button Skill Link
The basic attack skills are divided into 3 types: combination attacks, heavy blows, and magic, all of which can be executed with 1 button. By executing these skills in various orders, you will be able to execute stronger skills.

Fury Chain
Before your attack phase timer runs out, you can swap to the next character and maintain a chain of attacks. In addition to in-battle benefits, such as increase in attack power and filling of the image gauge, this may also result in additional XP or money earned as well as other post-battle bonuses.

Furthermore, by meeting certain criteria by chaining, you will be able to execute combination attacks between 2 to 4 characters.

Image Guage
The image guage will fill by various means such as attacking or exploiting an enemy's weakspot, and will ultimately allow you to unleash mana graphics in-battle.

By unleashing Mana graphics, you will be able to do the following:
1. Unleash character specific special attacks
2. Recover HP (it is possible to recover beyond your Max HP)
3. Deploy a shield that will reduce your damage taken

Action Ability
This will allow you to use various support skills such as using items, recovery, and stat boosts. You will, for the most part, be able to freely set the various support skills between rank 1 and 4, with rank 1 aspects being usable immediately and further ranks requiring progressively more time to become usable.

Because of the limited amount of time during the attack phase, skills which are used frequently can be set to a lower rank whereas aspects which are used less frequently can be set to higher ranks. The player can adjust these to suit their needs and style of play.

Soul Barrier
By exploiting weaknesses and making good use of chains, it will be possible to destroy a monster's soul barrier. A monster whose soul barrier is destroyed will have various changes associated with it. From the basic enrage where defense goes down and attack power goes up, to a change in weakness, change in attack strategy, or change in items that are dropped, destroying a monster's soul barrier will result in quite a few situations where you will need to actively alter your strategy, increasing the depth of battle.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New BlazBlue Promotional Video up on PSN-Japan

The upcoming 2D HighDef fighter, BlazBlue, has a new promotional video up on PSN Japan. For those interested, the Japanese release date is 6/25 with a US release following a few days later. Both Japanese and US versions will have dual audio tracks.

Below is the video for your viewing if you don't have a PSN-Japan account or don't want to go through the hassle of making one.