Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Famitsu Wave DVD October 2006

The October issue of Famitsu Wave DVD features print coverage and cinema previews of the following games and DVDs:

» PSP Monster Hunter Portable 2nd
» NDS Final Fantasy III
» PS3 Armored Core 4
» PS2 Minna no Tennis
» PSP Jeanne D'Arc
» PS2 God Hand
» NDS Pokemon Diamond and Pearl
» PS2 Apple Seed
» PS2 .hack//G.U. Vol. 2
» DVD Wave Idol Photo Studio Vol. 01 and 02

» And the usual assortment of general interest features, interviews, challenges, and Famitsu tomfoolery.

Nintendo DS Coloring Book

A bushy-tailed chipmunk serves as the emcee for Ertain's digital coloring book titled "Kokoro wo Yasumeru Otona no Nurie DS" where players stare at a colorful image and try to copy and recreate its colors on a monochrome clone of the target picture. For example, the first exercise features an image of an apple and leaves on a branch. By using four types of pens, a color palette, an eraser, and a 2X magnifier, an amateur colorist must copy the subtle colors and nuances. NCS staffers spent 30-minutes on the apple image and we learned that our coloring skills are severely lacking based on the crude final product. Along with the intricate coloring challenges, a number of mini-games may also be enjoyed to add a little variety to the coloring action.

Guitar Freaks Masterpiece [Ag]

When Guitar Freaks V & DrumMania V shipped earlier this year, it marked the first time in four years that Konami had released a game in the series. We're guessing the kudos and success of Guitar Hero in the USA had something to do with Konami's decision to revive the brand for the home market. To bolster the Guitar Freaks franchise even more amongst the Bemani faithful, Konami ships another the same year, which may signal a more regular release schedule for Gitadora henceforth.

Masterpiece Silver features a slick interface derived from the arcade version of Guitar Freaks 11 and a bold visual style with a mixture of metallic hues and colorful Pop'n style. Upon starting either the Guitar Freaks or DrumMania game, players may enjoy the Arcade Mode, Free Mode, Training Mode, or view the Records. In Session Mode, where guitar wranglers and drummers jam together, game modes consist of Arcade and Free. A total of 70 songs are collectied in the game including originals such as "Black Horizon" by Trick Trap, "I'm a Loser" from T. Ichiro, "Fire in the Dark" courtesy of Kevin Vecchione, "Let Me Believe" sung by Brenda Vaughn, and "Twinkle Star" by serena. Our favorites are "TRAIN-TRAIN" by the Blue Hearts and "Sweet Illusion" from iyiyim based on our quick play through this morning.

PS2/PC Phantasy Star Universe

Preorders for the Japanese PC and PS2 versions of Phantasy Star Universe are shipping today. Please note that new orders for the PC version of the game will not ship until tomorrow when our second shipments arrive. As mentioned on Tuesday's main website update, the Phantasy Star Universe branded Net Cash Cards were shipped from Sega to our vendor in Japan and we will receive them early next week. We'll update our customers once we receive the codes and should be able to start emailing them out on Tuesday of next week. Despite the lack of Net Cash, PSU includes an engaging offline mode that we're enjoying this morning. As the offline game starts, the Centennial Celebration is in progress which commemorates the 100 years of peace since the last war. Zooming into view is Ethan Waber, a carefree 17-year old who throttles through corridors and byways on an electronic surfboard. He's on his way to meet up with his younger sister Rumia to join in the festivities.

PSU 8M Memory Card

Hori didn't do anything special for the art on the face of the PS2 Phantasy Star Universe memory card and they simply copied the cover artwork of the game. NCS was hoping for a view of the planets or something... anything... different from the purple PSU art. To make up for their lack of initiative and ambition however, Hori does include a set of four memory card stickers which feature the following characters on white backgrounds:

» Ethan Waber
» Alfort Tylor
» Mirei Mikuna
» Karen Ella

In addition to the stickers, a sheet of black decals is also included which feature Phantasy Star Universe-themed logos and text. Instructions for applying the decals is shown on the back of the product. A cardboard backing inside the blister packaging features an image of Ethan Waber clashing energy swords with a red-armored Cast. Pricing is set at US$35 and all preorders are shipping this afternoon.

Xenosaga III USA in stock

Shion Uzuki discovers some disturbing details about her employer and defects. Although the Japanese version of Xenosaga III didn't sell very well in Japan, NCS sold out of both Asian and Japanese versions of the game in the past month that we've had the game in stock. However, looking over distributor stock lists, we see that there's a lot of XIII stock remaining in Japan waiting to be sold. It might be one of those games that's discounted by 80% eventually... With that in mind, NCS starts selling the USA version of the game today. Export orders have been brisk and there seems to be love for the final chapter in the Xenosaga series around the world. Just not in Japan...

Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins USA

Twenty one years ago, Capcom rehashed the age old yarn about a damsel in distress. Instead of sending a plumber to do a man's job however, a more traditional hero archetype was summoned to perform the rescue. Jumping and throwing weapons like a banshee, a knight in shining armor went on a mission to save his betrothed from a demonic kidnaper.

The PSP version of Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins recreates the original adventure but with rich and vibrant visuals along with a revamped game engine that runs in 2D but also features 3D sequences as well. In the first level of the game, the action is reminiscent of the classic Makaimura where the knight battles a crowd of enemies that approach on the ground and from the air. A spitting Venus flytrap sends deadly kisses through the air and a gruesome mid-level boss shoots squishy eye creatures. Arthur only has a single jump at the outset of the game but defeating the first boss grants him a pair of winged shoes which add the double jump to his repertoire. Arthur lofts even higher when he picks up a special power-up later in the game...

Enchanted Arms USA in stock

All orders for the USA version of Xbox 360 Enchanted Arms include a bonus 48-page graphic novel which is packaged with the game inside a slipcase. As the story goes, it's been a millennia since The Golem War when the population of the world was brought to its collective knees. After much death and destruction, the golems switched off mysteriously and stopped their swath of carnage. Peace ensued and the remnants of humanity buried the golems and secreted the knowledge of creating war golems away from normal mortal ken. Years pass, the sons of man swell their ranks to fighting strength once again, and golems are still being used albeit for manual labor and mundane tasks...

Disgaea 2 USA in stock

When the King of Demons casts a curse, you can be sure that his targets are going to suffer. Malevolent and spiteful, the demonic overlord known as Xenon curses the home world where the protagonist Adel lives and gradually causes the population to change into demonic creatures with horns, wings, and other appendages that shouldn't be there. Strangely, Adel is not only free from the curse but apparently has the wherewithal and destiny to help the people revert back to normal.

One day in a fit of delirium as evidenced by her untimely laughter, Adel's mother (Ma Ma) puts three of her demonically afflicted children in a cauldron and endeavors to summon Xenon himself to the world. After playing a tune on a flute, fireworks spew from the cauldron but instead of Xenon, they get the overlord's daughter Rosalinde. As she drifts downwards, she's surprised at her manifestation in Adel's world but it's quickly decided that she has to return to her homeworld...