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Liberation Maiden Sin photo
Liberation Maiden Sin

Liberation Maiden goes to PS3 with Liberation Maiden SIN

From Shmup to Adventure, by Presidential decree
Aug 30
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, Liberation Maiden. At first it seemed like something of a throwaway novelty, a 3DS shoot 'em up designed by Level-5 and Goichi "Suda 51" Suda and part of the Guild 01 anthology of auteur-driven titles. And in some w...
Youkai Watch trailer photo
Youkai Watch trailer

Level 5's Youkai Watch has a new gameplay trailer

It looks exactly like a Level 5 game.
Apr 15
// Elliot Gay
Level 5 can be pretty hit or miss with the way they treat their franchises. Most of their big series suffer from overly frequent releases that hurt their sales. That being said, Level 5 did some great work last year, and I'm...

Import Review: Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney

Apr 04 // Elliot Gay
Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: Level-5, CapcomPublisher: Level-5Release Date: November 29, 2012 (Japan)MSRP: 3,595 Yen ($39.99) It's just another evening at Professor Layton's office, as he and his self proclaimed apprentice Luke prepare to lock up for the night. Just before they head out, a mysterious girl named Mahone comes to their door seeking help. Possessing a strange, allegedly magical book, the girl is being pursued by some otherworldly force.  Elsewhere, Phoenix Wright and his psychic assistant Maya are on their way to England on business. Through a series of unfortunate events, the hapless pair find themselves in court, defending a high school girl named Mahone. Something feels off about the the case though; Mahone is unresponsive, and her guardian requests that Phoenix lose the trial on purpose. Just what exactly is going on?  Despite being a crossover game, Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney makes an admirable attempt to tell a compelling story. You see, these kinds of franchise crossovers often come with the caveat that the narrative has to be incomprehensible junk; a simple excuse to bring two or more video game worlds together. Some series don't try or need to provide justification for it (Marvel vs Capcom), but in the case of Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney, the entire game sinks or swims based on how well its written. An Ace Attorney title with a poor story or weak characters is nothing more than a disappointment. Similarly, while Professor Layton games focus heavily on the puzzle elements, they have a large fan base that also follows the series for its cast of characters. So how exactly do you satisfy these two groups of fans, while also making a game that stays true to both franchises? Rather than relying on multidimensional portals or hackneyed excuses as to why these two franchises can come together, Shu Takumi (Ace Attorney) and his staff keep it simple. Layton lives in England and Phoenix lives in Japan. There's absolutely no reason why the two of them can't meet, which lends Layton vs AA consistency in terms of its overall narrative. These are the characters you know and love, and it feels surprisingly natural to see them interact and work together on screen. Professor Layton's wisdom and confidence complement Phoenix Wright's goofy underdog personality in ways that play with player expectations. Likewise, Luke and Maya are adorable together, forming something of an older sister/little brother bond. Bringing Shu Takumi, on board was clearly the right decision, as he manages to make these crossover relationships feel natural. Like any good Ace Attorney or Professor Layton game worth its salt, the supporting cast is filled with quirky characters that round out Labyrinth City. In an interesting style choice, the city's inhabitants are mostly of a Layton-esque design. The main witnesses, however, are more along the line of Ace Attorney characters. It's an interesting juxtaposition that works better in practice than it does on paper.  The heroine Mahone is the single biggest disappointment in the cast. She's a mostly generic damsel in distress with a boring personality and a backstory that just isn't all that interesting. Despite much of the narrative revolving around her, Mahone is best used when she isn't actually in the spotlight. Fortunately, the overall narrative is fairly compelling, even if the final act gets pretty crazy. I take my hypothetical hat off to anybody who manages to predict the outcome of the final trial. It jumps the shark, and I can see it leaving people feeling a bit cold. So Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney somehow manages to come together on a narrative level, but what about the gameplay? This is where I think people might need to temper their expectations. The game is divided into two very clear sections: the Layton part, and the Ace Attorney part. The different gameplay in both sections never really comes together in a cohesive way, which is something of a disappointment. When you're outside of the courtroom, exploration and investigation plays out exactly as one would expect from a Professor Layton game. There are plenty of puzzles to solve, though those required to progress through the story are relatively simple. I can see Layton veterans being disappointed with how easy the main puzzles are, though I never really touched the optional or DLC ones. The other half of the game takes place in the courtroom, where things play out like an Ace Attorney game. The only character you'll ever be controlling here is Phoenix, though Layton, Luke, Maya, and a few others appear to help you out from time to time. Since Labyrinth City exists in a world without science, things like DNA, finger printing and the like don't exist. As a result, Phoenix and the others have to play by the rules of the natives, making for some interesting situations in which you're forced to use a magic book in order to deduce how a crime was committed. One of the new elements that Layton vs AA brings to the table are the multi-witness testimonies. Instead of questioning a single person, as many as ten witnesses will testify at the same time. It doesn't change trials too significantly, but it helps to keep things feeling fresh. On the whole, I found the Ace Attorney sections to be the strongest portions of gameplay. Ace Attorney games have never been particularly lavish productions. Much of their visual oomph can be attributed to the combination of smart sound effect usage and dynamic posing. Professor Layton games on the other hand have always benefited from decent sized budgets and Level 5's attention to detail. With much of the proper development handled by Level 5, Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney reaps those same benefits; the game is quite the looker. I was skeptical of the switch to 3D character models, and while I still think the Ace Attorney 5 characters animated better, Layton vs AA pulls off the change better than I expected. As an AA fan, it was a real treat seeing courtroom battles unfold in a more lively, animated fashion. The UI, while a bit cluttered, is sprinkled with colorful artwork and an attention to detail rarely afforded to in-game menus. On the bottom screen of the 3DS, little pixel art versions of the characters move around a beautiful map of the city as you travel from place to place. It's those kinds of little details that help the game world come alive. While Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney may be beautiful to look at, it's the soundtrack that really shines. A mix of styles, the score is heavy on orchestral themes that vary depending on which gameplay side players are on. Trials have a more Ace Attorney inspired sound to them, while the Layton puzzles boast themes that should be instantly familiar to series fans. A few musical themes from both game franchises make the jump into Layton vs AA, though the vast majority of music is brand new.  Sadly, the voice acting is a bit more hit or miss. Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney, like most Level-5 productions, is not fully voiced. Important story moments and animated cutscenes all contain voiced characters, but trials and investigation segments are for the most part silent. When the cast does start talking however, things begin to fall apart. Level-5 frequently employs actual film and TV actors for their games, which tends to go pretty poorly. In Layton vs AA's case, they brought in Hiroki Narimiya and Mirei Kiritani to play Phoenix and Maya respectively. Both performers also played the same characters in the live action adaptation of Ace Attorney, but neither of them have any real experience as voice actors. Line delivery is stilted, especially in Phoenix's case, and it often clashes with the characters played by veteran voice actors. In retrospect, I would have preferred no voice acting at all, as it was more than enough to pull me out of a dramatic scene. To be honest, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney. Crossover games have always left me feeling cold, and I didn't have any reason to believe this would be any different. I'm always happy to be proven wrong though, and that's exactly what Shu Takumi and the teams at Capcom Level-5 have done. It may not be best in class for either franchise, but Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney serves as a strong reminder as to why people fell in love with these series in the first place.  The wait for Ace Attorney 5 just got a whole lot harder. 8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
Layton vs AA review photo
No objections to this crossover.
Even after watching the end credits roll, it's hard to believe that Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney even exists. I don't think anybody could have ever expected Level-5 and Capcom to collaborate on a crossover game featuring ...

Go West! Week Forty-One: Professor Phantasy Boob Ninjas

Mar 03 // Elliot Gay
Releases for the week of February 24 -  March 2: Playstation 3: Macross 30: Ginga wo Tsunagu UtagoeBandai Namco GamesOnline Price: 8,171 Yen ($90.90) Finally. After years of short, anemic bonus games packaged with the Frontier film DVD/BDs, Bandai Namco Games has finally released a full, proper Macross title. Huzzah! Macross 30 is a game celebrating the 30th anniversary of the franchise, bringing together every series for one giant action RPG experience. Set one year after the Vajra war seen in Macross Frontier, 30 stars S.M.S. pilot Leon Sagaki. After being shot down by an unknown enemy, our hero crash lands on the planet of Ouroboros where he's rescued by Aisha Blachette, the young Zentradi leader of S.M.S.'s Ouroboros branch. Crazy things are happening on the planet however, and the two youngsters discover a sleeping girl named Mina Forte. Time and space start to go all crazy, connecting them to the heroes and stories of the past. The combat in 30 is handled similarly to the previous two Macross bonus games, Trial Frontier and Last Frontier, so those of you looking for some fun dogfight combat need not look any further. Outside of your ship, you'll be engaging in visual novel-esque progression, having conversations with other characters and making decisions that change the course of the story. As much as I really want to dive into this one, Macross 30 is simply too expensive for me right now. The pricing is absolutely insane, and it blows my mind that Namco Bandai Games can get away with charging this sort of cash. That being said, if you're a big Macross fan (why wouldn't you be?!), you're eventually going to have to pick up 30. Just beware of that language barrier.  Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo5pbOnline Price: 6,283 Yen ($69.90) To be honest, I was fully prepared to write Sharin no Kuni off as another port of a forgettable PC eroge, but it looks like maybe I was a bit quick in jumping to conclusions.  Taking place in an unspecified nation referred to only as the 'wheel country', Sharin no Kuni creates a setting in which all facets of society are heavily influenced by 'special high class individuals' who possess complete legal authority over all others. They have the ability to confer 'obligations' upon lesser individuals, forcing them to abide by these absolute rules or risk confinement in labor camps. Kenichi Morita is our main character, a young man who's trained for years to become a special high class individual. As his final test, he's sent back to his hometown where he's tasked with rehabilitating three people who've had obligations imposed upon them. Posing as a student and forced to confront the past he tried so hard to flee from, Kenichi has one hell of a wall he has to overcome. Yeah, that's pretty goddamn interesting. I have no clue as to whether or not Sharin no Kuni is able to pull off its seemingly lofty narrative goals, but I'd love to give it a shot. Have any of you beautiful readers played the PC version? Is it any good? If you're looking to check this out, be warned that it's a visual novel with plenty of text. Non-Japanese readers need not apply. Playstation Vita: Senran Kagura: Shinovi VersusMarvelous EntertainmentOnline Price: 7,182 Yen ($79.90) That's right everybody, this week marks the arrival of Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus, the infamous game about boobs, ninjas, and exploding clothes. If that sentence doesn't excite you, then you should probably just skip ahead to the next release. Though I have to warn you: Shinovi Versus is actually a fun little game. I know, that sounds like blasphemy coming from me, right? Hear me out for a moment before you assume that Idea Factory games have caused me to lose my mind. From the five hours I've put into it, I'm amazed to find that I'm enjoying myself and looking forward to playing more Shinovi Versus. The characters are big, colorful, and animate well. The action is fast and fun, with an interesting counter system in place and unlockable combo paths. Levels are designed more like Power Stone battles than actual multi-area stages, making it much easier to just jump in and have a good time. That's not to say it doesn't have problems: the camera, lock-on system, and the load times are all pretty awful. Nothing completely game breaking, but I do hope these things get patched. The developers have already announced there's a balance update coming for the online multiplayer, so my fingers are crossed that they keep working at it. I haven't mentioned the fanservice element because, well, you know exactly what you're getting here. For more details and an in-depth look at the game, keep your eyes out for a full preview piece coming soon. Phantasy Star Online 2 Special PackageSegaOnline Price: Free to download and play, 5,654 Yen ($62.90) for a hard copy. Considering how successful this game has been for Sega in Japan, I suspect it could very well end up being the Vita's killer app for a large group of gamers out there. This is Phantasy Star Online 2 for the Vita, pretty much unchanged from the PC version that released last year in Japan. Downloading and playing the game is still completely free, and much to my surprise it runs extremely well on the Vita hardware. Want to play with your PC friends but worried that the Vita version isn't compatible? Fear not, PC and Vita gamers can play together with no problem. Your PC character is also playable on Sony's little system and vice versa. I played through the PSO2 Vita beta earlier this year, and while it doesn't look like too much has changed in the final release, that's not really a bad thing. This is a super fun game and it's quite frankly a little bit crazy that Sega's just letting Vita owners grab it for free. Why would anybody ever purchase the physical edition of the game, you ask? The answer is simpler than you might expect. the PSO2 download is about 4gb, meaning you gotta open a fair chunk of space on your memory card. Additionally, the game'll be getting frequent updates just like it's PC big brother, so I'd imagine that'd start to take its tole fairly quickly. The packaged copy of the game doesn't require an installation, so you'll only have to worry about the updates. For you importers though, the cart version holds much more value. If you live out west and purchase a hard copy of PSO2, you'll be able to play the game on your Vita without having to switch over to a Japanese account. Yeah, that's a pretty big deal as far as I'm concerned.  One last warning, PSO2 is an online game, meaning there is no offline component.  Nintendo 3DS: Professor Layton and the Azaran LegaciesLevel 5Online Price: 5,744 Yen ($63.90) Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the final Professor Layton game. Maybe. Probably not. In the hopes of investigating a supposed living mummy, Layton, Luke, and Emmy travel to the snow covered land of Snowrassa. Not a a mummy in the traditional sense, the trio discovers a young girl named Aria frozen in the ice. A member of an ancient race of people known as the Azarans, Aria is freed from her sleep but has lost all of her memories. Hoping to get her memories back, Layton and co travel around the world in search of answers. If you've ever played a Professor Layton game, then it should go without saying that Azaran Legacies doesn't try to shake up the formula in any significant way. There are over 500 new puzzles waiting to be solved, and unlike the previous releases, the characters get to travel around the world to multiple locations.  Look, if you enjoy Professor Layton and have been playing them up until now, I see no reason why you'd pass on this. Except, you know, waiting for the eventual English language release. Playstation Portable: Shining ArkSegaOnline Price: 6,373 Yen ($70.90) I'm so excited to be writing about a new Tony Taka Shining game that I almost don't want to write anything about the game at all.  Shining Ark stars a boy named Freed from the island of Arcadia. Covered in old ruins of a civilization long since passed, Arcadia is fairly isolated from the rest of the world. One day while minding his own business, Freed stumbles upon a beautiful and mysterious girl named Panis. The catch? She has a single black wing. Through the power of her singing voice, Panis is able to gather animals around her in an almost angelic showing of power. Drawn to her innocent and pure personality, Freed gets swept up into a series of events that will change the lives of a great many people. He'll also meet a lot of Tony Taka female characters who all look exactly the same and have hideous fashion sense. And some animal dudes too, I guess. Panis also sounds like penis, so that's something. Shining Ark continues the recent Shining trend of borrowing Valkyria Chronicles amazing combat system. I would much rather have a new PSP VC game, but this is clearly a battle I'm not going to win anytime soon. If you've enjoyed any of the most recent Tony Taka Shining games, you'll probably dig this one too. Just beware of that language barrier. Stellar * Theater PortableCyber FrontOnline Price: 6,193 Yen ($68.90) There are aliens in this universe. In our seemingly normal, ordinary world, aliens exist. Our planet is protected and watched over by those who possess the power of the Zodiac. Our hero has lived out his days peacefully and normally, free from the knowledge that the world is much greater than it appears to be. That all changes one day when he meets a girl possessing the powers of the Zodiac. Three mysterious girls transfer into his high school, and his childhood friend who he had since long parted ways with once again appears before him. Just what is going on? No. No. No. Onigokko! PortableAlchemistOnline Price: 7,452 Yen ($82.90) The story of a young hero who defeats the evil oni and claims their treasure, Momotaro is a well known fairy tale here in Japan. Time has passed since that era, and a phantom youkai thief named Ura has appeared. Sending letters proclaiming his intent to steal from his victims, Ura always completes the job with flashy moves. Proclaiming himself to be a descendent of the oni that Momotaro had once slain, his mission is to take back the treasure that was once his. His next target? The very island that the oni once lived on. One day, a new exchange student arrives at the island's school; a mysterious young man with a strange air about him. His true form? The mysterious phantom thief, Ura! I don't think I'd ever actually play this myself, but I like the idea of taking a well known Japanese fairy tale and working around it to tell a story. I doubt Onigokko even tries to do anything original with the idea, but I still think it's kind of quirky and neat. Import only if you have the Japanese skills to make your way through a visual novel. Solomon's Ring: Kaze no ShouPlan PeaceOnline Price: 3,677 Yen ($40.90) One day, Lily is attacked by evil demons wielding dark magic. Saved by three demons called the Solomon 72, they seek a contract with the young girl. Absolutely terrified and confused, Lily flees the scene. Days later, the three demons appear before her once again, warning her that the world is stuck in a time loop in which the same week will repeat itself for all eternity. What is the fate of Lily? The fate of the world?! What a terribly dull sounding otome game. In a crowded market of games, Plan Peace is doing very little here to convince me that Solomon's Ring is any better than anything else that's already out there. I'd say hold off on this one unless you're a big fan of Plan Peace releases or something. [And that's all for this week, lover boys and girls. If you think the release schedule was wacky this time, just wait until Go West! 42 rolls around. This month is jam packed with Japanese video games, so stick with me as I explore the deep, dark secrets of the industry... or just play games I guess. See you next time!]
Go West! 41 photo
Huzzah! Big releases all over the place!
Welcome back to Go West!, your weekly column about Japanese games, Idea Factory, and boob ninjas. This week? Lots of games! Feels like it's been a while since we've had such a packed week. Edition 41 brings with it a host of ...


Burn up! A free dragon familiar DLC joins Ni no Kuni

Hurray for free goodies.
Feb 02
// Salvador G Rodiles
I bet many folks on here are having a blast with exploring the other world in Ni no Kuni. Whether you have beaten the game or not,North American players will be able to download a free familiar on February 12th (Eu...

Review: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Jan 18 // Chris Walden
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PlayStation 3)Developer: Level-5Publisher: Namco Bandai GamesRelease date: January 22, 2013 (US), February 1, 2013 (EU) (Version Reviewed)MSRP: $59.99 In case you skimmed the intro, I highly suggest you go back to my preview article and read up on that if you haven't already. I don't plan on talking about the stuff covered there, so things like the basic story and such will not be here! No point in saying the same thing twice, right? Anyway, let's talk characters! Oliver stays the strong and fearless young boy that we see in the games intro, which certainly makes me very happy. I was all too worried that, like many games, he would have spiralled into the realms of manic depression, barrels and snake-people, but fortunately for us Level-5 and Ghibli know what they're doing. Drippy also opens up over the course of the story, so don't worry, he is certainly more than a charming Welsh lord high-lord. Those of you that have seen clips of the Japanese version or played the demo that hit the PlayStation Network will know that two more characters join Oliver in his epic quest. Esther is a sweet and innocent young girl, who pretty much plays a female version of Oliver in most respects. She has her moments, but it's Swaine that really injects some life into the party. The nuisance-come-thief is just what the group needed to avoid being just a bunch of fearless kids travelling the world. His existence means that us older folk have someone to relate to, so it works really well as a gauge on how bad things really are in this strange, alternate world.  Level-5 do an absolutely fantastic job of keeping the battle system from looking like a giant, convoluted mess. It's certainly got a lot of meat to it, that's for sure, but all of the commands are simplified just enough to work great. You can only control one character at a time, be this Oliver, Esther or Swaine, and each one has a few differences in how they fight (Oliver has spells, Esther has music, Swaine has gun tricks). Each character can hold up to three familiars, which you can freely switch between to take advantage of how fights play out. The two characters who you aren't using will be controlled by the computer, which actually works pretty well. I tend to use Oliver by default, leaving Esther to heal up and Swaine to wail on the enemies.  I do have a minor gripe with the combat, however. In fact it only concerns boss fights, but I think it's a point worth mentioning. Boss fights are pretty tough. Most major fights feature critters that have a lot of HP and dish out a good amount of damage before going down. This is fine, but the game sort of ruins its own climactic battles by throwing gold glims at you with worrying regularity. These fully restore the HP/MP of the character that picks it up, as well as allowing them to perform a unique 'miracle move'. I'm playing on normal difficulty, but way too many times have I managed to get an easy win because of gold glims. I want to beat the boss down with the party I've finely crafted, rather than do so in a way that almost feels like I've cheated. You might be thinking it, but no, you can't just leave the gold glims alone. If you don't pick them up, one of your other characters will.  Over the course of the game, you will need to head back to Motorville via a gateway spell to solve puzzles or gain information. Each character you meet in Motorville has an alternative in Ni no Kuni, so often times you will be heading back to find out if someone is in trouble, or to learn about some of their particular habits. It's a neat mechanic in itself, but forcing you back into reality is a great way of continually showing you how grand, exciting and dangerous the land of Ni no Kuni really is.  What really surprised me is just how many spells there are for Oliver to collect and use. Strangely, not very many of them are usable in battle, as most of them just allow for you to interact with the world a little more. One of the earlier spells you receive allows you to unlock chests, but you'll soon get spells that allow you to talk to animals, build bridges and make plants grow quicker. They seem more like puzzle solving tools than spells, but with a hefty collection of them so short into the game, it proves to be a pretty neat way of making you study the world more. You're going to be on the lookout for anything that looks even remotely suspicious, immediately flicking to your book of spells to try and work out if you can influence it somehow.   Which is a great thing, really, when the world looks so stunning. The world map is simply a gorgeous piece of art, and the actual levels carry plenty of charm themselves. It's easy to write off the graphics in a cel-shaded game as being the same as all of the rest, but Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch proves that other games have quite a long way to go if they want to emulate the storybook quality of its aesthetics. Speaking of the world map, there really needs to be a better way to get around in the early game, as you're often caught running between two reasonably distant locations. It wont be much of an issue to most, but if you want to go and get that chest you saw near Old Father Oak and you only just remembered when you're in Castaway Cove, be prepared for a bit of a trek.  The largest part of the game, which doesn't even become apparent until you're a fair way through it, is the familiar system. You get a familiar very early on, but after a while you end up recruiting them at a rate that puts most Pokémon trainers to shame. Esther can befriend critters that find themselves impressed with how much of a beating you gave them, so you can use this to quickly build up a sizeable collection. While you're limited to three familiars per character and three in reserves (for a total of twelve in your party), you can store away the extras to use later. Each monster has its own spells, stats and weapon slots, so you can dig deep to find the perfect team that suits the way you play. That isn't all for familiars, though. Each one will learn spells as it levels up, but you only have a select number of slots in which to fill with attacks (similar to how Pokémon can only use four moves). You will have to pick and choose which spells you prefer, but there is a way to increase the number of slots your creature has. All you must do is embrace the power of evolution! That's right, your familiars can evolve into stronger beasts when they hit a particular level and you feed them a particular item. This will knock the creature back to level 1 (including its stats), but in return you get a creature that is even stronger after it's levelled, a wider selection of attacks and more of these useful attack slots. They will also gain a slight change in appearance, and this happens each time you evolve a monster. They can evolve at least twice, but I haven't evolved more than once per monster just yet! But that's not all! You can also feed your familiar treats in order to boost its stats even further. I think that's about it? In all seriousness, the familiar system is both incredibly deep and incredibly rewarding, and it is perhaps my favourite mechanic in the entire game. It may sound a bit like Pokémon, but really there are plenty of differences to keep things fresh. I really find it hard to believe that anyone would dislike the system at the very least, especially when the monsters are packed full of charm.  If you don't think customising monsters is enough, be relieved to know that there is a full-on alchemy system just waiting to be unlocked! Like most alchemy systems, you have the choice of building items by recipe or blind luck, but sifting through the wizards companion will offer a selection of weapon and item recipes. Ni no Kuni offers a huge set of tools for you to customise your characters with, and the sheer freedom is something you'll find incredibly refreshing.  The voice acting, for the most part, is just what you would expect to hear in one of Ghibli's films. The voice of Oliver was sourced by holding auditions in London, so you certainly can't fault the intentions behind such an endeavour. I mean, having a real-life young boy voice the in-game young boy seems like a no brainer. His voice is far from bad, that's for certain, but it makes you wonder if it would not have been better coming from a professional. I personally think it suits the game very well, but for those of you that disagree, there's a Japanese audio option.  The story offers plenty for you to do on your adventure across the mystical world of Ni no Kuni, but there are also a plethora of side quests to perform. These come in two different flavours, either being a 'hunt' or a 'request'. Hunts involve you finding and hunting down a stronger-than-normal monster, and requests are exactly what they seem. These usually involve finding items, exploring the world map or catching particular familiars. Completing these won't just earn you goodies and money, but also 'stamps'. You are given stamp cards, each with ten spaces, and completing side quests can earn you anywhere between two and six stamps. If you complete a card, you can redeem it for permanent bonus abilities. These include being able to creep up behind monsters easier, foraging extra items and moving quicker on the world map. These abilities are particularly useful, so partner these with some genuinely fun side quests and you can easily see what kind of an impact this will have on your final game time! Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is, quite simply, one of the most noteworthy RPGs in recent years. Released in a genre that has grown increasingly stale, it pulls out all the stops to blow away any and all preconceptions and show that there is life there yet. But it's not content with just showing it has a few new tricks, no, it demonstrates to us all that it can rival even the most highly regarded games in the genre. I can count the number of memorable RPGs on one hand, so the beautiful and vibrant world of Ni no Kuni is in sparse but good company. 9.0 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title in its genre)
Your PS3 is hungry and it wants this game.
Oh god, it's finally here. I was somewhat dreading the moment I'd come to review Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. Not because I thought it was terrible or that people would hold another opinion than my own, but rather be...


Lend your ears to Ghibli's take on Ni no Kuni's making

One of Ghibli's main guys has something important to say.
Dec 21
// Salvador G Rodiles
It was a magnificent treat to see the inside of Level-5's studio, as we hear Ahikiro Hino and Ken Motomura talk about their work on Ni no Kuni Wrath of the White Witch. Today, they are joined by Ghibli's Yoshiyuki Momose, wh...

Preview: Ni no Kuni

Dec 12 // Chris Walden
As is the case with most of the Ghibli films, Ni no Kuni has a simple yet gripping story designed to pull you right into its fictional world. An ordinary young boy called Oliver lives in the ordinary town of Motorville, which is pretty aptly named as his friend Philip has been building a car (kids these days!). While I could tell you more about what happens next, it came as quite a surprise when I played it, so I'll just hope you haven't found out already! Oliver soon finds himself in the land of Ni no Kuni, where he and 'lord high lord of the fairies' Drippy set out on an adventure. Consider that the spoiler free synopsis! On his journey, Oliver will be faced with many people that are 'broken hearted'. You will have seen one case of this in the demo, as you meet a guard that lacks enthusiasm. To cure them, you must source another person with excess enthusiasm in order to do a little transplant of sorts. These people have been cursed, so as the innocent young boy you are, you should help them out! What happens when you help them often yields different results, be it opening a new path (like the guard in the demo) or giving you new spells and/or items. The entire system is an interesting one, and using the spells to fix those who are broken hearted is very simple. No complex menus to scroll through, so that's a bonus! Like any localised Japanese game, you've got to know just how good the vocal dub is. Even more so when it involves Studio Ghibli, as their movies have become renowned for having great voice actors work on them. From what I have played, Ni no Kuni doesn't disappoint either. Something I want to point out is that Drippy has a Welsh accent in the English dub. The reason I want to point this out is because I played the first half of the demo and noticed that it wasn't until the end that we ever get to hear Drippy speak! I'm sure this will have confused a lot of people, as I even saw mention that his dialogue had 'typos', where the dialogue has been written to reflect his accent. He speaks a lot more in the actual game and his voice is just perfect, so much so that a few of us at Namco Bandai began to discuss it.  Oliver's voice is an interesting one. I discovered that the company behind the dub actually went around London-based schools in order to find the perfect voice for him, so when you hear it, know that there is a young boy behind it, not an actor! I'm not sure about the rest of the voice cast, but characters like Philip, Oliver's mum and the Great Deku Tree Old Father Oak certainly had solid voice work. The problem with dubbing voices in another language is that there isn't often much you can do about the original mouth movements in the game/film. Still, Ni no Kuni does very well to keep them in sync, and there were only a few occasions where it really became noticeable (on a parrot, no less!). Short of messing with the character models there's nothing much you can do about these few instances, and I think I'd rather the game come out as soon as possible over waiting another year! Dialogue in the game is always written with the accents included, meaning that speech from characters like Drippy may appear a bit strange. I personally found nothing wrong with this, as the first time you speak with Drippy specifically, you hear his voice. I know a lot of people don't like it when accents are written into the dialogue, but I personally think it's a good thing. It's a shame that the demo players were left a little confused by what appeared to be typos before Drippy spoke, but for the deaf gamers amongst us, it's great for characterisation. It also really isn't an issue for the rest of us, but after hearing one person on Youtube speaking Drippy's lines in a Jamaican accent before hearing the little guy speak Welsh, I figured I'd point it out! This game is an RPG, so there are many little systems to learn during the beginning of the game. Drippy helps to explain everything in the first hour and a half or so, which isn't so long when the game will likely take over 40 hours of your time to see it through to the end. The game takes its time to explain things and make sure you aren't left wondering what it is you're mean to be doing, as well as establishing key characters and the stories surrounding them. Sure, this means you don't get into your first battle until around 40 minutes into the game, but I came away from the entire event feeling confident that I knew the ins and outs of combat and the various mechanics. So, let's talk battles! The battle system is certainly unconventional, but it's not at all difficult to get to grips with when the game talks you through it. You control Oliver on the battle screen, and you can move him around the battlefield like you can in games like Star Ocean. He can perform regular attacks by hitting enemies with his wand, cast magic spells which come with an MP cost and a cooldown to prevent mashing fireballs one after the other, or even summon a familiar to fight in his place. He can also defend and use items, in case you find yourself in a bad situation. An interesting system introduced in Ni no Kuni involves 'glims', small, coloured spheres that pop onto the battlefield when you land attacks on the enemy, and occasionally when Drippy throws some in to help you out. They only provide very minor boosts to HP and MP (depending on their colour), but quite a few times it meant I could afford that one extra fireball or cure spell. There are also gold glims, which I only saw appear during the boss fight with the Guardian of the Woods. They seem to give Oliver and his familiars a super move of sorts, and while it isn't guaranteed to defeat the enemy, it certainly inflicts a sizeable amount of damage on whoever is on the receiving end.  Pre-emptive strikes can be performed by creeping up on an enemy, which grants you some extra time to perform attacks before your enemies can act. Similarly, enemies can get behind you and initiate this themselves, forcing you to wait a short time before you can act and leaving you running around the battlefield in a wild attempt to avoid being hit. It certainly means you'll be more vigilant on the world map, making sure that the fast-moving bird enemies don't manage to get behind you. I also made sure to have my character be defeated in battle, just to see what would happen (and not because I messed up, honest!). Interestingly, you are allowed to carry on from where you were, but you will lose 10% of your money, known in this game as 'guilders'. You also have the choice to decline this offer and carry on from the last time you saved, if you prefer. It's definitely nice to have this option, and I'll take a 10% hit to my wallet over a traditional game over any day! As mentioned earlier, Oliver can use familiars to fight for him. These little critters have their own stats and attacks, and they also level up individually. They can learn new attacks after hitting certain levels, and each familiar can only have a set number of attacks 'set' for use in battle at one time. It's all a little bit Pokémon in this respect, but rest assured that you don't 'forget' attacks that you aren't currently using. Using them in battles is a good way of protecting Oliver, and using them to exploit particular weaknesses in an enemy seems to be the way to go. I got to use Mitey (who you use in the Guardian fight in the demo), as well as a second familiar that I earned towards the end of my three hour session. They have plenty of differences besides their attacks, so picking which one to use isn't as simple as seeing which one has the higher level. Familiar stats can be boosted by levelling up, as well as feeding them 'treats' outside of fights. It seems that there is a limit to how much you can boost their stats this way, but I'm unsure exactly where the boundaries are.  The graphics, as you might well have seen already, are absolutely stunning. It comes as a mix of gorgeous cel-shaded models for most of the game, with animated videos placed here and there in the traditional Ghibli style. Cel-shaded games are certainly a dime a dozen these days, but Level-5 show that they aren't going to be satisfied with simply looking like the others. The models are neat, the animations add plenty of character and the shadows, which are usually terrible in cel-shaded games, look pretty good too. Perhaps the highlight of all things graphical in Ni no Kuni is the world map. It oozes charm and looks fantastic, while simply serving the same purpose of any other world map. It's quite the sight, so be sure to check it out! One thing that does concern me about this game is how it'll be accepted by those who frequently play JRPGs. Don't get me wrong, the battle system and all of the stats and mechanics surrounding it are great, but my issue lies specifically with the mini-map. If you are given a quest, it shows you exactly where you need to go instead of making you explore. Sounds good in theory, and I'd certainly agree, but you could argue that you will only be moving from one waypoint to another this way. Hopefully this isn't always the case, as I wonder what the popular opinion on it will be, otherwise.  As is the case with all games, you'll be pleased to hear that I experienced no issues with frame rates, and the loading screens were extremely short. I've been trying to beat Final Fantasy XIII before the end of the year (I know, I know) so I can appreciate the lack of loading times when my chocobo treasure hunting has been hampered so much by it! I can't tell you for sure if it's because the game was installed on the hard drive or not (or whether you can actually do that and if it's required), but the less time spent in limbo staring at a swirly icon and not in the wonderful land of Ni no Kuni, the better. Joe Hisaishi is in charge of the music, and it might be a name you are already familiar with. He has composed a lot of the soundtracks to existing Ghibli films, including My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Ponyo, so rest assured that you will be receiving a stunning musical score. If you were worried that this game might not feel like a Ghibli production, know that this is just one of many things that make it feel almost like an interactive Ghibli movie. I mean this as a compliment of course, don't go comparing it to Modern Warfare 2 or something! Ni no Kuni belongs on your shelf next to the other Ghibli films, and I feel that's the highest compliment I can give it. As for my three hour progress, I managed to complete a few quests in Ding Dong Dell (which is perhaps the best name), which is the area you get to see at the end of the demo. I really enjoyed my time with it, but I have only scraped the surface when it comes to actual content. I eagerly await getting my own copy of the game to play through, and sincerely hope that the Ghibli magic I saw in this brief time lasts throughout the entire experience. Rest assured that we'll have a review nearer the time, and I'll certainly be aiming to see everything the game has to offer before giving you my final thoughts. Be sure to grab the demo if you still haven't, and keep your eyes peeled for a review around the official release date of January 22nd/25th (US/EU). 
It looks proper good!
It's been less than a week since the Ni no Kuni demo landed on the PlayStation Network for Studio Ghibli and Level-5 fans alike to clamour over. It offers two trips into the game, each at about 25 minutes long apiece, but per...


Take a peek into the creation of Ni no Kuni's world

Sweet, Level-5 allows PVCs in your workstation.
Dec 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
After playing the demo for Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, I am looking forward to playing the actual game. If you enjoyed the demo as much as I did, then you are in for a treat today, since we are taking a look inside...

Sweet joy! Ni no Kuni is getting a demo this week

Such perfect timing!
Dec 03
// Salvador G Rodiles
I knew that it was a good timing when my PS3 came in last Friday, since the gods of sweet victory are shining before me! And why's that? Because the demo of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is coming to the PS3 ...

Puzzles and cases combine in Layton vs Wright's new PV

Two great minds join forces.
Nov 22
// Salvador G Rodiles
I bet most of you were jumping out of your seats when you all found out that Bones was handling the animated cutscenes for Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney. And today, the icing on the cake gets even more sweeter, ...

Final Impressions: Mobile Suit Gundam AGE

Sep 27 // Pedro Cortes
Before I get started, let's recap what happened in the final episode. Ezelcant, safe in his room on Second Moon and damn near close to death, feels Zeheart pass on the battlefield. With few options left, the Vagans decide to unleash Zera Gins, a cloned soldier with no heart or remorse, in Vagan Gear. The big and ugly super weapon heads out and the three Asuno's head out to face it, but not before Ezelcant attempts to appeal to Kio via X-Rounder thought space. While difficult to battle on a single suit basis, the combined force of the Gundams are able to keep Gins from going too crazy. Things get complicated when a fully repaired SID arrives and combines with Vagan Gear, sending it out of control and into the Vagan space fortress. This causes insane amounts of damage that puts the space fortress and Second Moon in imminent peril.  While the three Gundams try to figure out what's wrong with Gins, Flit disengages and grabs a Plasma Diver missile. With an opening like this, the vengeful old crank can't help but try to take advantage and take out his enemy. Kio jumps in front of the missile and starts with his usual anti-fighting routine, ending with a X-Rounder blast directed to his grandpappy. Flit has a vision of Yurin, who tells him to let go of his hate and, more importantly, to forgive himself for the deaths of his friends. Flit finally lets go of his grudge and the three Asuno's come up with a way to save Second Moon.  After an impassioned speech and the firing the Plasma Diver up into space, the Vagan and Federation decide to cooperate with Flit's plan. Unfortunately, Vagan Gear SID interrupts the party. However, with the combined help of Federation and Vagan forces and the extremely powerful AGE-FX, the monstrosity blows up and Second Moon is saved. There's an extremely quick epilogue that mentions that through the EXA DB, a solution to the cosmic ray problem is found and everybody lives happily ever after. On the 100th anniversary of The Day Angel Fell and 37 years after the last battle, you see an older Asemu and Kio looking up at a statue of Flit and they mention how well Earth is doing. THE END. Wow. Where to begin? Well, I'll take it from the first arc, which covered the youth of Flit. AGE began strong, setting up this kid genius Flit with internal anger that only grew from episode to episode. As more of his friends died and the more the Vagans destroyed, you can see that Sunrise was trying to build the little guy into your typical ball of hate. I think this was done well. I mean, you can understand why somebody who saw his mother, a male role model, a strong willed old man and his girlfriend killed would grow to be angry and bitter. Even worse, the man who saved the Federation took a nasty fall and was imprisoned for years. Flit was betrayed by the people he was defending and found out that the evil that ruined his life was no different from him. At this point, AGE was doing well and had a great set up for the next arc. The beginning of the second arc was also alright. We saw that Asemu, the son of a legendary pilot and military man, was trying to get out of the shadow of his father. There could've been a great show in that. However, this is where AGE begins to careen off the rails. Instead of being earnest and willing to do what he needs to do, Asemu comes off as exceptionally whiny, and that's saying a lot considering the history of Gundam. Besides trying to deal with his father's legacy, Asemu has to deal with the inadequacy he feels with his friend/enemy Zeheart. I'll go into Zeheart more in a bit, but it's sufficient to say that their relationship could've pushed the show into even better territory. Instead, we get these two involved in a glorified prick-waving contest, only the pricks are giant robots. This arc ends Asemu hero-worshiping this dead senpai and Flit, who remains as vital a character as we was in the first arc, cleansing the Federation of Vagan agents.  By this point, AGE had already dived off the rails and was careening into the forest. In fact, I can directly point to episode 24 being the point where the show decides to go off in a completely illogical direction. The shark leaps the moment that Romary prevents Asemu from arresting Zeheart. Asemu had a pistol trained on the white-hair pretty boy Char knockoff and could have dealt a heavy blow to the Vagan movement. Instead, she helps the enemy out by preventing Asemu from taking him in. The sheer stupidity of that moment was where I finally understood that Level 5 had no idea what they were doing with this story and was attempting to rely on Gundam cliches to fill it out. Granted, plenty of other Gundam shows have used this same tactic, but they usually did it with some amount of cleverness.  As for the last arc, it could be some of the worst stuff that Gundam has ever brought to the table. For transparency's sake, I've never seen Gundam Double Zeta or Gundam SEED Destiny, two shows that are widely reviled in the fandom. I have read up on them and I can understand why people really don't like them. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that this arc brings equally bad material to the table as those "classics" did. For one, it decides to forget about entire chunks of the cast. Yeah, we see Arisa's useless son Wootbit, but we don't see her or Millais or just about anybody else from the old Diva. Obright and Algreus are the only non-Asuno old hats that come back. It's a tremendous waste and pissed me off after seeing so many of these characters grow from part one to two. It also suffered from an incredibly rushed ending that felt like a cop out. An incredibly hasty final villain that was briefly shown an episode or two before in a machine that was never mentioned. The idea of an Ezelcant clone being bred with no emotions for pure combat could have been interested if it was built up correctly, but the way it was done was sloppy and worthy of ridicule. Then there's the EXA DB, a maguffin that's introduced way too late for it to make any sense. It feels like the main writer had no idea how to explain the Vagan's rise to power and wrote some BS to cover his ass. Oh, and it also solves the problems with the cosmic rays despite being a weapon database. How convenient.   With the story taken care of, let's dive into a couple of the characters. I could go on for quite a while about each of the main characters, but I'll start with the main Asuno trio. Flit by and far was the main character of this show. Don't be fooled by promise of the multi-generational story. The only one of the Asunos that has an arc is Flit. You see him grow from bright child to disillusioned adult to genocidal old crank who finally realizes that his hate is based partially on his inability to forgive himself. He's the only one who changes in the end. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that he's on screen the longest of the three. It's a consequence of the three generation structure of the show: the guy who was around the longest got way more time to have a fleshed out story. If AGE were better paced or had better writing, things might have been different. Unfortunately, it isn't. As mentioned earlier, Asemu's story could've been great. Being the son of a famous pilot and not inheriting a vital aspect of his genetics could've been a helluva underdog story. Instead, he complains and bitches and moans. It takes the death of Woolf for him to get his head out of his ass and worry about being a pilot. When Asemu goes from SUPER PILOT to SUPER PIRATE in the time between the second and third arcs, you see that he's the same petulant kid, only on a bigger scale. For some strange reason, even after helping Flit clear out the Federation of Vagan spies, he feels the need to keep both sides balanced by attacking both Federation and Vagan ships. It's completely illogical, especially because Asemu should know the fanatical levels the Vagan devolve to. He's ultimately useless as a pirate, just as he was useless as Flit's son and Woolf's number two. Then there's Kio. I could go on and on and on about the little punk ass, but I'll keep it short and say he's by far the worst pilot I've seen in a Gundam show. With the power he had with the Gundam AGE-FX and his tremendous X-Rounder abilities, he could've put a quick end to any conflict he was involved in. Instead, he takes more time to remove the heads of the Vagan mobile suits so as to not kill the pilots. While he's wasting his time doing this, more and more of his comrades are dying and not getting the same kind of consideration. So, more of the enemy lives while more of his people die. It makes absolutely NO sense. Hell, if Kio actually did what he was supposed to do, nobody else in his team would've had to die. Seric wouldn't have had to deal with that idiotic super weapon and wouldn't have gotten caught on the Vagan ship. Obright wouldn't have had to take out two named villains and die in the process and Jonathan wouldn't have been merced by Fram. The damn kid even sold out the secrets of the Gundam for a case of Tic-Tacs that barely helped the sick little girl that was going to die anyway. He did more to help the Vagan than the Federation and he should've gotten a court-martial for it. One of the few overall positives of AGE was the interesting and mostly competent secondary characters. I really liked Woolf as the requisite senpai who gave a boost to the lead characters when they needed it. Millais and Grodeck were interesting in their runs as the captain of the Diva. I'll definitely give Grodeck a lot of credit as a great character who was willing to take the fall for his men in the name of revenge and protecting the Federation. His death hurt and was done in the right way to push Flit's hate even further. Seric was also an intelligent pilot that helped out Einus and showed great bravey in death, as did Obright. I'll also give credit to Level 5 for making me care so much about the Diva. I felt more when the Diva was destroyed than when most other characters bit it.  Unfortunately, there isn't much to be said about the Vagan. For the most part, they are two dimensional villains who are fanatical devotees to a mad man. There isn't a single Vagan who questions their genocidal leader and that makes them beyond saving in my opinion. Most shows would attempt to make a few sympathetic villains in order to make you feel that there are two sides to the war and, really, no one side is completely right. In AGE, any attempt to humanize the Vagan falls flat when you see them react to Ezelcant's speech on Second Moon. That doesn't mean they should all burn (as believed by Flit), but they should be defeated as quick as possible to prevent casualties, not saved so they can come back and kill again. The sign of this was Yark Dole in the first arc. You can understand why the people on Mars would want revenge for what happened to them, but after years of terrorist attacks I would find diplomacy hard, if not impossible. There's a lot to say about the psychosis of Ezelcant, who is willing to use some rather aggressive eugenics to create his version of the "perfect" mankind. He tells his people that he wants to take them back to Earth and away from the Mars sphere and its deadly cosmic rays. Usually, people like this meet a rough end via hand gun or laser blast. Instead, he's rewarded with a peaceful death on Second Moon with his wife by his side. There's no sense of satisfaction at seeing his plan fail and his final "redeeming" line with his wife rings false and hollow. A sad and pathetic leader, he was. What could be the biggest tragedy of the show is Zeheart. Right from the jump, you can tell he's going to be the Char clone of AGE. He's pretty, he's an ace pilot, he has extraordinary special abilities and he has a penchant for red. Unlike that legendary bad ass, Zeheart lacks the conviction and leadership skills that the show wants to foist on him. Yeah, he's better than Asemu during the second arc, but that has more to do with Asemu's deficiencies and less with overall skill. When we see that Flit and eventually Kio are able to easily surpass him, you understand that he's the loser villain of the show. It would be like looking under the mask of Char Aznable and finding that it's Jerid Messa. The only reason that Ezelcant would give Zeheart command of the Vagan fleet is because the plot demanded it. He's an idiot that fell hook, line and sinker for the ramblings of a powerful madman and lost any sort of hope for redemption by the time he died in his knock-off Gundam. Good riddance. In summary, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE is an absolute mess of a show that squanders the good will that it builds during its first third. It has some interesting ideas, but the writers over at Level 5 were incapable of making it into something decent. It's badly paced, awfully presented and lacks any sort of ability to make me sympathize with its characters by the time the last episode is completed. If this were part of any other franchise, I'd be concerned for its future. The only good things I can say about AGE are that the first third of the show was solid, the secondary Federation characters were mostly interesting and the suit design was pretty good overall. Besides that, it's a complete waste of time that I'd recommend to nobody, not even the most hardcore of Gundam completionists. Avoid at all costs.
I began with a fairly positive impression of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE. It had a lot of promise, with the premise of a three generation arc over the course of a hundred years. Not only that, but writing duties were passed off to...


Layton Brothers: Mysterious Room hits iOS Sep. 21

Sep 14
// Elliot Gay
Well that came out of nowhere! Some of you folks might remember the iOS Professor Layton spinoff, Layton Brothers, that was announced quite a while back. A mix of Ace Attorney's investigation sequences and Professor Layton pu...

Gundam Age video game to evolve into two versions

May 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
I think we have found the answer to why Level-5 has taken their sweet time with the upcoming Gundam Age game for the PSP. It turns out that they are taking the Pokémon route by releasing two versions of the game in the...

Level 5's Time Travelers jumps to shelves this July

May 08
// Elliot Gay
Level 5's upcoming Nintendo 3DS/Playstation Vita adventure game, Time Travelers, will apparently be hitting Japanese stores on July 12 according to this official post on Sony's Playstation Blog. I have no idea if this applies...

Level-5's Guild 01 has four games by Japanese masters

Apr 24
// Bob Muir
Somehow Guild 01 has flew under my radar, despite sounding like an awesome collection of what are essentially big-budget indie projects. Level-5 has gathered four different game designers together to create four different ty...

Ni no Kuni has more content for the West, possible sequel

Apr 18
// Bob Muir
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, the gorgeous RPG from Level-5 and Studio Ghibli, isn't releasing in the West this year. We may have to twiddle our thumbs until early 2013, but it's going to be worth the wait. Level-5 CE...

Expect a white Christmas with Ni no Kuni's US release

Feb 15
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's not really coming out on Christmas Day, but you get what I mean. Namco Bandai has decided to take charge of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch's localization. To all you purist out there, Namco Bandai is going to ...

Yay! Bones is involved with Layton vs Ace Attorney

Jan 29
// Salvador G Rodiles
Today is a great day to be a fan of the Ace Attorney games because Bones is going to handle all the animated sequences for Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney. As one who has enjoyed the Ace Attorney series, it's good to see tha...

Puzzle no more: New Professor Layton film going stateside

Nov 02
// Josh Tolentino
All things considered, the solution was already given to us earlier this year, as VIZ Media made it clear that they had acquired Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, a semi-new film about the puzzle-solving professor and hi...

Ni no Kuni's latest trailer is a thing of beauty

Sep 06
// Elliot Gay
I feel like anytime I see something new pertaining to Level 5's Ni no Kuni, I have a hard time getting the franchise off my mind. I think it's about time I brush off my DS copy and start a new game. With the Tokyo Game Show l...

Ni no Kuni gets a magical release for the Playstation 3

Sep 01
// Elliot Gay
Upcoming Level 5 RPG, Ni no Kuni: Shiroki Seihai no Jo, will be getting one of those nifty special edition Playstation 3 consoles to go along with its release come November 17th in Japan. Dubbed the "Ni no Kuni Magical Editio...

Prepare your body for Gundam AGE this October 9th

Aug 11
// Josh Tolentino
It's been finally confirmed that Sunrise's next big Gundam show, Gundam AGE, will be airing in just under two months' time, slated for October 9th, 2011. Japan time, of course. If you're wondering why AGE might be differ...

Here's your first trailer for Gundam AGE, the new Gundam

Jun 13
// Josh Tolentino
It's been a while since we got ourselves brand new entry into the Gundam franchise, that eternal font of plastic models, toys and fanboys whining about a return to the Universal Century, but now Bandai and Sunrise are ob...

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