Although not exclusive to the medium, one of my favorite things about video games is how many elements are includes within a single work. Everything from level design, artistic style, story telling, cinematic direction, music and numerous other bits contributes to the title as a whole. Each aspect can pull from different inspirations as well as individually succeed or fail, while still coming together as one product.
The game-focused aspects of video games are likely most important to the majority of people. However, sometimes developers simply use them as a vehicle for the overall experience rather than the main draw.
If there’s one Japanese game that has been on many radars recently, it is Catherine, an action puzzler from Atlus. Atlus’ first HD title, Catherine is an interesting title since it not only a retail puzzle title but also has an involving story behind a main character who is torn betweentwo relationships.
In a sea of RPGs on the Nintendo DS, it is hard to get noticed. But Atlus’ upcoming Radiant Historia is proving to be a title that might stick out of the crowd. I recently got an invite to tune in to an online press demonstration that showed some of the more impressive features of the title. Mainly the unique battle system and the the main character’s time traveling abilities.
Nintendo is and has been the king of the party game since they’ve added four controller ports on their systems. And while other companies have tried, many have failed and since turned their back on the arena. In comes Dokapon Kingdom! This Wii and PS2 party game gem is basically RPGs and Mario Party thrown into a blender. The results of this concoction are surprisingly good. But be careful who you bust this title out around. By the end of the game, you can easily have one less friend.
Developer Monolith Software, known for their Xeno series, isn’t exactly in the best position for getting their titles localized outside of Japan. Monolith Software is mostly owned by Nintendo. And when Nintendo looks at games to localize, they generally bring over their huge franchise names and maybe one or two smaller titles. So Nintendo published Monolith titles have little to no chance at ever getting localized. Namco Bandai holds some ownership of Monolith Software as well… but they don’t even localize entries in some of their biggest franchises. *cough* Tales*cough*. Thankfully, Namco Bandai is willing to let other publishers localize titles they skipped over. And through that, Monolith Software’s Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier was brought to North America (sorry Europe), thanks to Atlus.
Wut U Talkin Bout is a quick look at overlooked titles in gaming history or a overlooked entry in a franchise.
With Japanese Role Playing Games, it isn’t unlikely for the cutscenes, dialog, or voice acting to be embarrassingly bad. If you live with someone, you may be familiar with glancing over your shoulder to make sure no one else is looking during particularly embarrassing scenes. It can be very uncomfortable when people give you strange looks as you play. Usually, simply muting your TV or pausing the game will solve the problem when it comes to these titles. But occasionally, you come across a title so embarrassing that the only way you can play it is if you send your family or roommate on a week long vacation, lock yourself in the basement, and then seal the door with five or six layers of concrete and steel. Thousand Arms is one of those titles.