Archive for January, 2011

Important Importables Review: Tales of Graces F for PS3

January 30, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Tales of Graces F for PS3

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS3, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Action, Role-Playing

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テイルズオブグレイセスF Tales of Graces F for PS3

Title: Tales of Graces F
Price: Asian version: $64.90, Japan version: $94.90
System(s): PS3 (Available on Wii as Tales of Graces
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Publisher (Developer): Namco Bandai (Namco Tales Studio)
ESRB Rating: N/A, Cero B for Ages 12 and up
Pros: Interesting story, looks pretty, good battle system that’s easy to get into, lots of titles to collect, DLC costumes available, epilogue added to the PS3 release, quite a few side-quests, lots of save points, barely noticeable loading times, unified world map, lots of trophies to earn, can explore surrounding areas for memories and skits and it has good voice acting.
Cons: Doesn’t seem as challenging as other Tales games and DLC costumes are expensive. Tales of Graces Wii owners’ version looks pretty bad in comparison. Item creation only happens at shops. TP points are gone, which could be seen as good but it does make the game less challenging.
Overall Score: Two thumbs up, 95/100, A, * * * * 1/2 out of 5

On December 10, 2009, Namco Bandai released Tales of Graces for the Wii, the first original Tales game to debut on the system. While it had a lot of promise, including a simplified battle scheme that made it easier for beginners to adjust, it was plagued by bugs and glitches. There was even a recall, where Namco Bandai had to send out repaired discs.

Then, Namco Bandai did something that broke Wii owners’ hearts. It announced Tales of Graces F for the PS3. Just like the Tales of Vesperia PS3 port, the Tales of Graces port features lots of new content and a refind and remastered version of the game free from any unsightly issues.

テイルズオブグレイセスF Tales of Graces F for PS3

A tale of childhood friends, political intrigue, amazing powers and a girl who NEVER ages.

11 year old Asbel Lhant and his 10 year old brother Richard are playing in a mountain meadow near their home, Lhant, when they see a young girl lying their. Asbel wakes her up and they learn she is an amnesiac who just found herself there. Asbel names her Sophie, and she comes home with them. Asbel’s father, Aston, is lord of Lhant, which is part of Windol. Asbel learns the country’s prince, Richard, is staying with them. The two boys and Sophie become friends, making a childhood oath to stay together.

Of course, things go awry. After Richard returns home to Baronia, Windol’s capital, Asbel sneaks over there. The two of them, along with Sophie, Cheria and Hubert, end up discovering something hidden below a local church, which has devastating results. Sophie disappears, Richard is hurt and the Lhant family decides to adopt Hubert out to the Ozwell family to take him away from Asbel’s influence. Asbel then runs away from home to Baronia, to join the Knight’s Academy so he can protect those he loves.

After the introductory adventure, Tales of Graces F fast forwards seven years. Asbel is now a knight, but has just met up with Cheria, who tells him his father is dead. He must abandon his dream and return to Lhant as its next Lord. However, when he returns he finds invading forces and an old friend.

テイルズオブグレイセスF Tales of Graces F for PS3

Easy to play, pretty to look at and lots to do

Tales of Graces F is a very fluid game. While there is a world map, each area is connected to each other so it’s more like you’re actually roaming real environments. Load times are scarce and Everything feels quite connected. It’s bright, vibrant and colorful, with detailed characters and even a few detailed monsters. The visual quality remains constant, whether you’re in a battle, experiencing a cutscene or wandering around a town or field.

It also has a story that, while it isn’t revolutionary, is still quite interesting. There are underlying elements of political intrigue, since the three nations of Efinea, Windol, Strata and Fendel, are at constant war with one another and Hubert was adopted by a ruling family of Strata. Plus, there’s the ever popular supernatural uber being trying to take over the world and it seems like, for most of the story, that two of the primary characters will have to die to defeat it. Each Tales game has a theme, and Tales of Graces F‘s theme is about protecting people. Asbel wants to protect both of his friends, and spends most of the adventure trying to find some sort of compromise that will keep everyone safe.

Tales of Graces F also has plenty of classic Tales touches. There are plenty of skits, fully voiced. This time you see a character’s whole upper body when a skit is going on, so you can get a better sense of how they’re reacting to one another. It is kind of odd that they mainly take place near save points, but at least it makes it easy not to skip them. Item creation (cooking, combining, strengthening) returns, though it can only be done at shops. There are also tons of titles to collect for each character, which players level up to unlock extra abilities, sometimes even extra costumes, for characters. Another interesting point is that TP points are no longer used for special attacks or magic. Instead, characters charge up and then attack as normal, using whatever moves they’d like as long as they have enough stamina to keep doing so. There’s even an arles pot, which players can fill with items to make battles easier or acquire certain items.

Namco Bandai also did a really good job making sure people would buy Tales of Graces F, even if they had already purchased Tales of Graces. After you complete the main story, there’s another extra adventure – an epilogue following Asbel after he’s fully accepted his role as Lhant’s lord. It’s quite a substantial extra story. Also, the main game itself has been enhanced. All of the bugs and faults from the Wii release are rectified, the graphics are improved and in HD, more story events and segments have been added, there are new titles and artes and there are plenty of DLC costumes.

テイルズオブグレイセスF Tales of Graces F for PS3

The best version of Tales of Graces

If you were to compare Tales of Graces F to Tales of Vesperia, Vesperia would undoubtedly emerge as the better game. However, Tales of Graces F is quite strong on its own, with interesting characters, a battle system that is both fun and easy to learn, lots of titles to collect and story that asks players if they would be willing to sacrifice their loved ones to save the world. It’s smooth and plays well, and I think RPG novices and Tales fans alike will enjoy it.

If you do get Tales of Graces F, go for the Asia version. It’s identical to the Japan version, only it’s much cheaper. It may be best to just wait, since it looks like Namco Bandai might actually release Tales of Graces F in North America.

Editor’s Note: Hot Japanese Imports and Jenni Lada are now on Twitter. Follow @JMariye for mini-import video game updates.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about UVERworld.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week talked about Axis Powers Hetalia.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »


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Japan Import: Suikoden series returns as a dating sim

January 28, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Suikoden series returns as a dating sim

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, PSP & PSPgo, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, Action, Bishoujo, Role-Playing, Sim, Web-Sites, Official-Sites

Doki Doki Suikoden April Fools Logo ♪どきどきすいこでん♪There’s some bad news if you’ve been waiting for a new Suikoden game. Konami and Irem have just announced one, but it isn’t the Suikoden you’ve been waiting for. Instead of being an RPG where you battle bad guys and collect 108 characters to aid you in your fight, it’s a dating sim called Doki Doki Suikoden. Better yet, a PSP dating sim inspired by an April Fool’s prank from 2001.

Where the original prank was supposedly a dating simulation with 108 winnable girls, the actual Doki Doki Suikoden is a dating sim and RPG. Players follow a new student at Seven Wonders Academy who goes around the school with dateable girls, trying to solve mysteries, battling unknown forces and falling in love.. Appropriately enough, there are supposed to be seven of them.  So far six heroines (Yuko, Yoko, Kimika, Rei, Nana and Satsuki) have been revealed, but there may be a secret character or two hidden in there.

Battles will involve the protagonist and three of the bachelorettes, and you choose which ones come with you. If the girls get roughed up in battle, their clothes get destroyed. Instead of equipment, like armor and weapons, you’ll be able to customize the heroines and build their strength with around 200 articles of clothing. It almost sounds a little like the DS game Tactics Layer, only with more of a focus on realistic clothing than strange cosplay outfits.

A website isn’t open for Doki Doki Suikoden, but if you’re bored you can always browse the old 2001 Doki Doki Suikoden April Fool’s site. It’s still open and happens to be quite detailed. There’s fake box-art, brief character profiles and portraits for all 108 girls and even three fake screenshots.

If you want to delude yourself, you can try and pretend that Doki Doki Suikoden PSP is just another April Fool’s joke. The game will be coming out in April, 2011.

Read [Game Jouhou (Japanese)] Also Read [Andriasang] Site [Doki Doki Suikoden (Japanese)]

Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »


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Important Importables: Hetalia: Axis Powers

January 22, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Hetalia: Axis Powers

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, PSP & PSPgo, Gear, Comics-and-Graphic-Novels, Ads & Media, Movies, TV, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 2D, Adventure

Hot Japanese Imports logo

If you keep up with anime and manga news, then odds are you’ve heard about Hetalia: Axis Powers. It’s current fan favorite that started from humble beginnings as a single web comic. Now, it’s available in every form of media possible. If you’re interested in history, then the adventures of these anthropomorphic countries may interest you. Here’s what you need to know, if you want to get into Hetalia.

Hetalia Axis Powers Tokyopop Manga ヘタリア

What’s Hetalia: Axis Powers?

As mentioned one paragraph ago, Hidekaz Himaruya originally created Hetalia as a single web comic in 2006, then went on to turn it into a regular webcoming. The manga followed shortly after, then came drama CDs, anime series and animated movie. The title itself translates roughly into Useless Italy: Axis Powers, which is fitting since the series first focused on Italy, Germany and Japan during World War I and World War II.

Don’t get confused when I say it focused on Italy, Germany and Japan though. While it is a historical manga, it’s also a comedy and satire starring humanized versions of the actual countries. Instead of depicting actual wars and battlefields, it shows the countries interacting with personifications of other countries. While the Axis members are usually the main focus, Allied Forces characters like America, England, Canada, France, Russia and China also have rather large parts. As time went on, even more countries were added as supporting characters, like Hungry, Switzerland, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Denmark and Sweden.

If you’re in North America, there are plenty of ways to see Hetalia. TokyoPop has commited to bringing the manga volumes to the US, and the first two are already available. Funimation has picked up the rights to the anime and movie, with the Hetalia anime already running on the Funimation Channel. Both the anime and movie will be on DVD this year.

ヘタリア Gakuen Hetalia Portable PSP

So is there a Hetalia: Axis Powers game?

Why yes, there is a Hetalia: Axis Powers game! It’s actually in development right now. It’s a visual novel game that’s being put together by Idea Factory. It’s called Gakuen Hetalia Portable. Players step into the shoes of Seychelles, who happens to be the newest student at the World Academy. Even though she’s new to the school, she’s been tasked with putting together the annual cultural exchange party. Which means she has to meet and get to know all of the other classmates (countries).

Originally, Gakuen Hetalia was supposed to be an official otome (girl’s dating) game created by Himaruya himself for PCs. However, it was never finished. A demo was released in early 2007, but that’s as far as it got. So Idea Factory’s PSP version will be inspired by the original concept, but it seems like the dating sim aspects are being downplayed. It’s still coming out under the Otomate line, so expect a few romantic endings for Seychelles with some of the other countries-characters. You can pick it up on March 24, 2011 if you’re interested.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports reviews Tales of Graces F for the PS3.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week listed some 2011 import games to keep an eye out for.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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Here’s what went down at Square Enix’s 1st Production Department Premier

January 20, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Here’s what went down at Square Enix’s 1st Production Department Premier

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Lists, Consoles, PS3, Xbox-360, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, PSP & PSPgo, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, Action, Adventure, Role-Playing

Final Fantasy XIII-2 FF

At 5pm on January 18, 2011, Square Enix held it’s first Square Enix 1st Production Dept. Premier event. Think of it as a big press conference, only the company was allowing people from the Square Enix Members program to also attend and hear about the latest games the company is working on. It was a very Final Fantasy-centric event, with the only exceptions being two Kingdom Hearts games, and discussed the projects that the 1st. Production Division, which used to be the Tokyo and Osaka studios, are working on.

Let’s go through what we learned from the 1st Production Dept. Premier by game, since seven were discussed.

Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy (PSP)

Like most of the other games appearing at the 1st Production Dept. Premier, there was a new Dissidia 012 trailer. Square Enix said that as many characters as possible are going to be crammed into the latest fighter, with Yuna (FFX) and Prishe (FFXI). Gilgamesh (FFV) was also hinted at being in the game, as he appeared at the very end of the trailer shown at the event.

Dissidia 012 also is going to have the first paid demo. It’ll cost ¥300 (~$4) on the PlayStation Store and allow players to sample the story mode and arcade mode. It may be worth the money to some people though, as it will unlock Aerith (FFVII) as a support character in the full game once that comes out.

Final Fantasy 0-Shiki (PSP)

Forget about Final Fantasy Agito XIII, as it is now Final Fantasy 0-Shiki. It’s still headed to the PSP and in development. The name was changed because, as it was being developed, it ended up having nothing to do with FFXIII. Instead, Final Fantasy 0-Shiki may end up being the start of an entirely new series. A new trailer was shown and apparently the main characters are fighting in some kind of war. Square Enix also noted that it will have a large cast, and that it currently has people recording voice acting for over 30 characters.

Let’s see what the 1st Production Dept. Premier attendees saw with this leaked FF 0-Shiki trailer!

Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection (PSP)

Expect a code for Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy in the FFIV Complete Collection box. I’m guessing it’ll unlock an extra outfit for Cecil or Kain.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, Xbox 360)

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is real and Motomu Toriyama is directing it again. It’ll be out in 2011 in Japan and in 2012 in North America and Europe. Lightning is going to be in it and it will be a direct sequel to FFXIII. A trailer was shown at the event, of course.

Oh look! Here’s a Final Fantasy XIII-2 trailer!

I wonder if that’s what Square Enix did with all of the supposedly cut FFXIII content.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII (PS3)

Versus isn’t dead, and it retains it’s FFXIII connection! A new trailer was shown, with Prince Noctis and Stella talking. You can see it here on Gamertell. That is unfortunately all that was said about Versus.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS)

So much for calling Kingdom Hearts 3DS that anymore! The game is now officially Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The game is going to focus on a new adventure for Sora and Riku, and will have player going through the game as both of them for different areas.

A Kingdom Hearts 3D trailer was shown at the event, and you can see it right here.

Supposedly the game will take advantage of the 3DS’ capabilities, though Square Enix didn’t go into how.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Final Mix (PSP)

There wasn’t too much new information about the newest version of KH: BBS, mostly because everything has already been said about it. It does come out on January 20, 2011, after all. Square Enix did start the conference off with a new trailer for the latest version.

Even though most of the 1st Production Department Premier trailers have already leaked out onto the internet, you will be able to see them officially soon. The FFXIII-2 trailer will be officially released on January 20, 2011 and all of the other trailers shown exclusively at the event will be available a week later on January 27, 2011. They’ll all be HD and pretty, not recorded livestreams that look glitchy and don’t do the games justice.

I’ll admit – I’m disappointed. I was hoping for a Before Crisis: FFVII 3DS announcement or Kingdom Hearts 3 PS3 announcement!

Read [4Gamer.net (Japanese)] Also Read [Andriasang] Site [Square Enix 1st Production Department Premier (Japanese)] Site [Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (Japanese)] Site [Final Fantasy 0-Shiki (Japanese)] Site [Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Japanese)]

Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »


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Japan Import: Make a date with Catherine next week

January 18, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Make a date with Catherine next week

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS3, Xbox-360, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Action, Adventure

Atlus Catherine Vincent PS3 Xbox 360

Atlus’ Catherine won’t be officially released until February 17, 2011, but gamers will be able to get a sneak peek much sooner. You can test out the game for yourself next week. Well, anyone with Japanese PSN and Xbox Live Gold accounts will get to download the demo on January 27, 2011. Standard Japanese Xbox Live members will have to wait until February 3, 2011.

This is good news for gamers around the world, because all you’ll need to try Catherine out is a Japanese PlayStation Store or Xbox Live account. If you have one, then just log into it on your system and you should have no problem grabbing the demo. Playing it might be troublesome, since it’s going to be a text-heavy adventure at times, but still. Since the demo is said to a portion of the game’s opening, it shouldn’t be too difficult. The tower-climbing action part doesn’t even require text to understand. As long as you button mash the X or A button, you should be fine.

Plus, a demo can be very telling. While Catherine‘s supernatural story and fan-service has already earned it cult-classic buzz, the platforming aspect’s quality has been called into question. This way, people can see if the game is capable of making crate-moving fun.

Read [4Gamer.net (Japanese)] Also Read [Andriasang] Site [Catherine (Japanese)]

Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »


Popularity: 3% [?]

PlayStation Store Comics Update: What kind of hero are you? (January 5 to 18, 2010)

January 18, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

PlayStation Store Comics Update: What kind of hero are you? (January 5 to 18, 2010)

Section: Features, Collecting, Japanese Imports, Lists, Nostalgia, Previews, Handhelds, PSP & PSPgo, Gear, Audio, Comics-and-Graphic-Novels, Ads & Media, Web, Advertisements, Updates, Playstation-Store

PSN Store update banner for 2010New comics for 2011

This Week’s Feature Comic

This week’s comic feature is The Dreaming for $1.99 by Tokyopop. In this series twin sisters Amber and Jeanie Malkin are accepted into the Greenwich Private College, an exclusive Australian boarding school, located in North Sydney. As they arrive they soon learn the vice principal has a strange prejudice against identical twins and was ready to reject the girls but allowed them to stay when the girls informed the vice-principal that they were actually born 11 months apart. Not long after settling in and meeting new friends that they learn more about the school and the surrounding bushlands near the school. After girls begin disappearing from the school something begins to invade their dreams. Check out the first issue of The Dreaming and follow Amber and Jeanie as they try to solve the mystery of Greenwich Private College.

Comic Highlights

  • This month be prepared to explore the world of comics manga-style with Tokyopop starting with the strange and beautiful world of Undertown, The Dreaming, I Luv Halloween, Legends of the Dark Crystal and Star Trek: The Manga.
  • Three new great value bundles are now available in the PS Comic store. The first is the Green Lantern: First Issue Spectacular for $5.99 which includes issues #1, #7, #21, and #29. The second bundle is WildStorm: First Issue Spectacular which includes Planetary #1, Victorian Undead #1, WildCats: World’s End #1, Authority: World’s End and RED #1 for $5.99. And finally the best of DC’s Vertigo which includes Sandman #1, Fables #1, Y The Last Man #1, DMZ #1, and The Unwritten #1 for $7.99.
  • A strange new comic following a character that is part zombie and part human ghoul named Zombo. A creature with a taste for living flesh and the aspirations of pop stardom.
  • Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth makes a return under new publisher Markosia with audio commentary.
  • Batman Beyond 6-issue miniseries based on the animated series starts this week.
  • Dōmo, konnichiwa! The mascot of Japan’s NHK TV station makes its debut on the Digital Comics store this week with Domo: The Manga #1.
  • A new series by BOOM! Studios that dares to ask the question: what if the world’s greatest hero decided to become the world’s greatest villain? With the start of a new series called Irredeemable.
  • With DC Universe Online out in stores, DC Comics is excited to bring new issues of Batman, Superman and other familiar superheroes in the coming weeks and asks readers what kind of superhero will you be in the DC Universe:
  • Warning: Video contains graphic violence. If you are easily offended skip the video.

This Week’s Newest Comics

NOTE: To view comics PSP owners must download the latest firmware featuring the reader and update their PSP systems first before downloading comics. Also note that some comics may contain mature suggestive themes, partial nudity, violence or gore. Always read the description before downloading or visit the PSN Comic site for detailed information about a comic series if you are easily offended. 

  • Cancertown #1 (PSP/Free)
  • The Dreaming

  • Cancertown #2 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Cancertown #3 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Cancertown #4 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Cancertown #5 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Cancertown #6 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Batman Beyond Vol.1 #1 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Batman Beyond Vol. 4 # 1 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Domo # 1 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Undertown # 1 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Undertown # 2 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • The Night Owls # 8 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Star Trek: The Manga #1 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Star Trek: The Manga #2 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Star Trek: The Manga #3 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Star Trek: The Manga #4 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Star Trek: The Manga #5 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Star Trek: The Manga #6 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Star Trek: The Manga #7 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Star Trek: The Manga #8 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Star Trek: The Manga #9 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • The Indifference Engine #1 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • The Indifference Engine #2 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • The Indifference Engine #3 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • The Indifference Engine #4 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Legends of the Dark Crystal #1 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Legends of the Dark Crystal #2 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Legends of the Dark Crystal #3 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Bayou # 11 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • N-Guard # 4 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • Reya # 6 (PSP/99 Cents)
  • The Dreaming #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • The Dreaming #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • The Dreaming #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • The Dreaming #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • The Dreaming #5 (PSP/$1.99)
  • The Dreaming #6 (PSP/$1.99)
  • The Dreaming #7 (PSP/$1.99)
  • The Dreaming #8 (PSP/$1.99)
  • The Dreaming #9 (PSP/$1.99)
  • The Dreaming #10 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Sandman #16 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Sandman #17 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ex Machina #24 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ex Machina #25 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Fables #39: Homelands #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Fables #40 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Flash: Rebirth #5 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Flash: Rebirth #6 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Fringe: Tales from the Fringe #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Fringe: Tales from the Fringe #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • God of War #5 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Green Lantern Corps Vol. 1 #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Green Lantern Corps Vol. 1 #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • I Luv Halloween #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • I Luv Halloween #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • I Luv Halloween #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • I Luv Halloween #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • I Luv Halloween #5 (PSP/$1.99)
  • I Luv Halloween #6 (PSP/$1.99)
  • I Luv Halloween #7 (PSP/$1.99)
  • I Luv Halloween #8 (PSP/$1.99)
  • I Luv Halloween #9 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable: Special #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #5 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #6 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #7 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #8 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #9 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #10 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #11 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #12 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #13 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #14 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Irredeemable #15 (PSP/$1.99)
  • JLA #29: Crisis Times Five #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • JLA #30: Crisis Times Five #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Superman/Batman #43 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Superman/Batman #44: The Search for Kryptonite #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Supernatural: Origins #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Supernatural: Origins #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Supernatural: Origins #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Supernatural: Origins #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Supernatural: Origins #5 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Supernatural: Origins #6 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #7: Doom #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #8: Doom #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #9: Doom #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #10: Doom #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #11: Doom #5 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #12: Doom #6 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #13: N-Zone #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #14: N-Zone #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #15: N-Zone #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2003) #16: N-Zone #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #15 : Circle #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #16 : Circle #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Kane & Lynch #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Planetary #23 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Planetary #24 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Road # 2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Silent Hill: Past Life # 2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Star Trek: Khan: Ruling in Hell #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Transformers #14: Revenge of the Decepticons #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • X-Force (2008) #1: Angels and Demons #1 (PSP/$1.99)
  • X-Force (2008) #2: Angels and Demons #2 (PSP/$1.99)
  • X-Force (2008) #3: Angels and Demons #3 (PSP/$1.99)
  • X-Force (2008) #4: Angels and Demons #4 (PSP/$1.99)
  • X-Force (2008) #5: Angels and Demons #5 (PSP/$1.99)
  • X-Force (2008) #6: Angels and Demons #6 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Y: The Last Man #22 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Y: The Last Man #23 (PSP/$1.99)
  • Zombo: Part 1 (PSP/$2.99)

Image Source:Tokyopop Comics

Read [PlayStation Comics Blog] Read [PlayStation Comics Blog] Site [PlayStation Comics] Site [Official Marvel Comics Site] Site [Official DC Comics Site] Site [Official Tokyopop Comics] Site [Official Boom Studios Site]

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Important Importables: 10 games to watch for in early 2011

January 16, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: 10 games to watch for in early 2011

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Lists, Consoles, PS3, Wii, Xbox-360, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, PSP & PSPgo, Genres, 2D, 3D, Action, Adventure, Music, Role-Playing, Sim, Strategy

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It’s 2011, which means a whole new year of import video game options is approaching. The best part is, the first few months of this year are filled with great DS, PS3, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360 releases. Even if, for some inexplicable reason, all Japanese game companies decided not to release any more new games until Fall 2011, you’d still be set with what’s coming out in the next two months. To help you get your import wishlists together, I’ve collected a list of 10 pretty darn awesome games coming out in Japan very soon. I hope you saved up!

Now, I know the 3DS is coming out next month in Japan. But I’m not recommending it or its games. Word is, they’re region-locked. So it’d be silly to recommend an import 3DS game to people when they’d have to buy a Japanese 3DS just to play it, and then not be able to use that Japanese 3DS to play games from other regions.

Catherine PS3 Xbox 360 Atlus

Catherine (PS3, Xbox 360)

It isn’t even yet, but Atlus’ Catherine has people clamoring it. Probably because of all the provacative imagery. Vincent ends up in a relationship with two women at the same time, Katherine and Catherine. That alone would be troubling, but there have also been a rash of supernatural deaths and Vincent has been having these strange dreams where he has to keep climbing a tower while pursued by gigantic monsters and attacked by sheep. If he falls, he just might die. Look for it February 17, 2011. The PS3 version is region-free, so you can import it right away if you’d like.

Gyakuten Kenji 2 (DS)

Miles Edgeworth is back again, investigating more cases as a prosecutor. Dick Gumshoe and Kay Faraday return at his side, and once again help him investigate the cases. There’s a bit of urgency in this entry, as the legal department is phrasing out prosecutors they feel aren’t up to the job. So Edgeworth has to prove his worth as a lawyer. A new Chess Logic mode appears in this entry, where Edgeworth can try to expose weaknesses while talking to suspects while making his own case stronger. If you want a new adventure game, this is the one to go for. It’ll be out February 3, 2011. You may want to wait to import it though, as Capcom will probably release it in English.

Idolmaster 2 Idolm@ster 2

Idolm@ster 2 (Xbox 360)

Time for idol raising again! Players are a 765 Production producer and must work with the company’s 12 idols to make them singing sensations. You have to build up their skills, pick their songs, decide on outfits, organize interviews and send them off to auditions if you want your group to rise up the charts. Be careful though, as 961 Production is around as well and are promoting a male idol group – Project Jupiter. You can pick it up February 24, 2011. Make sure you have a Japanese Xbox 360 if you do!

The Last Story (Wii)

The Wii doesn’t have too many RPGs, which makes The Last Story all the more welcome. Players follow Elza and his mercenary friends, who came to Ruli City to try and find a way to survive and succeed. It’s an action RPG with a focus on dungeon exploration, with lots of quests and sidequests. It also will have two multiplayer modes, a Versus mode where you fight other players and a Raid mode where you work with other players to take down monsters. It’ll be out at the end of the month on January 27, 2011. Remember, it will only play on Japanese Wiis.

Persona 2 Innocent Sin PSP

Persona 2: Innocent Sin (PSP)

Atlus is continuing its trend of porting Persona games to the PSP. Since Persona 2: Innocent Sin was only released in Japan on the PS1, which was region-locked, there’s a good chance many people missed out. Tatsuya Suou, Eikichi Mishina and Lisa Silverman ended up encountering the Joker, who says they wronged him in the past and wants revenge. The three must team up to find out what’s going on and escape the Joker’s wrath. Oh, and they can summon personas. The PSP remake is an enhanced port with new art, extra difficulty levels, new music and a lot of other little extras. Check it out on April 14, 2011. Or wait. There’s a good chance Atlus will release it in English eventually.

Rune Factory Oceans (PS3, Wii)

Rune Factory is the wonderful Harvest Moon offshoot that blends dungeon-crawling with farming and relationship building. Rune Factory Oceans is unique as it’s the first to appear on the PS3 and to have a female protagonist. Azel and Sonia are the hero and heroine, who are childhood friends and somehow get stuck sharing the same body. They explore the world and its oceans on the back of a monster called Ymir, looking for a cure. And farming. And making friends with men and women who might just be willing to marry one of them. It’ll be out February 24, 2011. The Japanese version will work fine on any PS3, and will even support the Move controller.

Valkyria Chronicles 3 III PSP

Valkyria Chronicles III (PSP)

If you loved Valkyria Chronicles and want more, you’re in luck. You can see another side of the Second Europan War in Valkyria Chronicles III which follows The Nameless as they perform missions for the Gallian army. They must complete missions and fight against the Calamity Raven Darcsen Army. The gameplay is the same, but now players have more control over characters and their classes and abilities. You also level up the squad as a whole, so don’t worry if you use one or two characters a lot, then suddenly need to use different ones. It’ll be out later this month on January 27, 2011. You may want to wait a while before importing it, as all the other Valkyria Chronicles have been released in English.

Venus & Braves: Majo to Magami to Horobi no Yogen (PSP)

Hurray for another PSP RPG release. This strategic RPG from Namco Bandai is actually a remake of the original PS2 game, with lots of Tales character cameos. Follow Blood Boall the immortal and a goddess named Aria as they try to save the world from being destroyed in a hundred years. An interesting aspect of the game is the fact that time passes and non-immortal characters will eventually die. A mortal character’s age determines his or her effectiveness. The PSP version will also have strategic multiplayer battles. Since Namco Bandai is pretty bad about releasing niche games in North America, especially ones with Tales characters, you may want to import this after it comes out later this month on January 20, 2011.

Hero Yuusha 30 Second PSP

Yuusha 30 Second (PSP)

If you loved Half Minute Hero (Yuusha 30), then you’ll love the sequel, Yuusha 30 Second. Yes, it’s a little bit of the same, but there’s also lots of new content in Yuusha 30 Second to make it worth a second look. Like the new edit mode, which allows you to make your own maps and quests and upload them with infrastructure mode. If you finish the five new scenarios – all 30 second RPGs – with 90 quests, then go online and download some more! It’ll be available February 10, 2011.

Zombie Daisuke (DS)

Zombie Daisuke is equal parts “Aw!” and “Huh?” After a number of innocent farmers are gassed by an evil corporation, they turn into zombies. Which you then raise and manage. Once you’ve built them up and made them strong, you send them off into town on real-time strategic missions to recover lost items. While zombie games are getting a bit old due to the influx of them, the idea of being able to raise and manage some cute, blue little zombies sounds pretty fresh! Look for it later this month on January 20, 2011.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports looks at Axis Powers Hetalia.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week talked about Lucky Star.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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Japan Import: A new Idolm@ster anime has been announced

January 12, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: A new Idolm@ster anime has been announced

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, Xbox-360, Ads & Media, TV, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Web-Sites, Official-Sites

Idolmaster 2 Idolm@ster 2

A new Idolm@ster anime is in the works! And, unlike Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia, this one may just follow the storyline of the original games. I say may, because the new Idolm@ster anime series is still a bit of a mystery. Namco Bandai just announced it. More official information won’t be released until January 29, 2011, when the official anime website opens.

Well, technically the Idolm@ster anime website is open, as it’s already online. It just won’t have more revealing content until the end of the month. Until then, you can stop by there to look at some signatures from the voice actresses. Eriko Nakamura (Haruka Amami) and Akiko Hasegawa’s (Miki Hoshii) autographs are up right now. Expect to see notes from all of the Idolm@ster video game voice actresses, since they’ll all be reprising their roles.

The Idolm@ster anime website also has a preview video, to get visitors hyped up about the new series. You can see it below. It’s almost five minutes long, so it may take a minute to load. Skip ahead to the 2 minute point if you don’t want to listen to Haruka and the producer talk and you just want to see new character art with the idols singing in the background.

It’s a shame that there wasn’t any actual Idolm@ster anime footage, but it was nice to see some character art! It looks like the anime will be set at the same time as Idolm@ster 2 (Xbox 360) and include Hibiki and Takane as members of 765 Productions. If it is inspired by Idolm@ster 2, then I wonder if the boy band will be showing up in the series too.

Read [Dengeki Online (Japanese)] Also Read [SGCafe] Site [Idolm@ster Anime (Japanese)]

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Here’s what you get when you buy a Japanese 3DS

January 10, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Here’s what you get when you buy a Japanese 3DS

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, 3DS, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Shooter

Japan 3DS Nintendo BlueThe 3DS isn’t out in Japan until February 26, 2011 and you already know you want it. Even though you don’t know if its region-locked or region-free, you’re ready to take the risk and spend ¥25,000 (~$300) on it. Good for you. Nintendo’s decided it’s time to let you know what you’ll be getting with your brand new system.

First, you’re getting a 3DS. It’ll be either blue or black. (I guess we’ll have to wait for that pretty purple prototype from E3 2010!). You’ll also get what you need to charge the battery – a charging cable and AC adaptor. You also get a touch pen, because you can’t play touch screen games without a stylus. There’s a 2gb SD card as well. Finally, six AC cards for games that need them.

You’ll also get some included games and applications. They’ll already be installed and ready for you to use the first time you turn your 3DS on. There will be camera and sound apps, which let you take pictures and listen to music. The Mii Studio and Street Pass Mii Plaza will also be ready to go the moment you turn it on, to create your avatars. It sounds like the Activity Log may be some kind of planner of some sort. Then there’s Kao Shooting, a shooting game where faces from pictures you take will come at you, trying to attack. You shoot them to make them go away. Nintendo also says augmented reality games will be included, but doesn’t list any specific titles.

As exciting as a new console is, I would wholeheartedly advise waiting until after the Japanese launch date to import one. If the system ends up being region-locked, like the DSi and DSi XL, then you won’t be able to play any games released in North America. You’d have to import all your 3DS games! Plus it’s always best to wait a week or two before buying a brand new system – find out what other people think and make sure the first batch doesn’t have any flaws.

Read [Andriasang] Site [Nintendo 3DS (Japanese)]

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Important Importables: Lucky Star

January 8, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Lucky Star

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS2, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, PSP & PSPgo, Gear, Comics-and-Graphic-Novels, Ads & Media, TV, Home Video, Genres, 2D, Adventure, Educational

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Lucky Star manga vol 1 らき☆すた
Let’s start out the new year right! Let’s get hooked on a manga series. After all, it’s going to be a few weeks before first few major released of 2011 start showing up. So kick back with a classic anime and manga.

Today in Hot Japanese Imports we’re going to look at Lucky Star. It’s a good starter manga for gamers who like comics, but aren’t sure if they’re ready for the commitment a standard manga series or anime may require. It’s falls into the slice-of-life genre, which means it chronicles the everyday life of its main characters. And since the main character of Lucky Star happens to be an otaku, there may be a fandom cameo you’ll recognize.

What’s Lucky Star?

Lucky Star, often seen as Lucky ☆Star, began as a manga series by Kagami Yoshimizu. It is a character-driven, four koma series where each comic was almost always four panels long and deals with everyday life. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s not. Most of the time, it’s slightly nerdy. That’s because of it’s star, Konata Izumi. She’s an athletic otaku who loves video games, anime and manga. (Some of her favorites are adult gal games.)

When the Lucky Star manga first began, it focused mainly on Konata and her friends, Kagami and Tsukasa Hiiragi and Miyuki Takara. Since time does pass in the manga though, they don’t always remain the stars. As they get older and graduate high school, a number of other students show up as supporting characters, like Konata’s cousin, Yutaka, Minami Iwasaki, Patricia Martin and Hiyori Tamura. The series still retains its casual feeling and geeky humor though, since all of the girls tend to have some kind of interest in manga, anime, music or games.

About three years after the Lucky Star manga debuted in 2004, an anime was released. It could be considered similar to the Azumanga Daioh anime, as it combines multiple situations found in the original manga into 24 episodes that show Konata, Kagami, Tsukasa and Miyuki’s daily life. What made it really unique was the fact that each episode of the Lucky Star anime had a different ending theme song, which has the girls doing a karaoke rendition of a theme song from another anime series. There was also an OVA released in 2008 that had six unique and original stories starring the four main Lucky Star girls.

Lucky Star Ryouou Gakuen Outousai PS2 らき☆すた

Lucky Star games

Given how often the cast of Lucky Star talks about games in both the manga and anime, it’s a given that actual video games were inspired by the series. The thing is, the games aren’t exactly what you’d expect from a comic series about fangirls. If you were hoping for a simulation, platformer or perhaps even a fighting game, then keep hoping. You get visual novels and trivia games instead.

Lucky Star: Ryouou Gakuen Outousai is a visual novel adventure game that originally appeared on the PS2 in January, 2008. It was so popular that, almost three years later, it was ported to the PSP in December, 2010. Players step into the shoes of an original male character who has just enrolled at Ryouou Gakuen. A festival is coming up, and you get to help make it great with all of the character from the Lucky Star manga and anime. It also features a new original female lead, Yamato Nagamori.

The other two Lucky Star games are both for the DS, and are both edutainment games with the Lucky Star girls acting as, well, mascots. Lucky Star: Moe Drill first debuted in December, 2005, and did so well that Shin Lucky Star Moe Drill: Tabidachi, the sequel, was released two years later in May, 2007. Both games do have a story mode where players work with one of the main characters and hopefully do their best on math, memory and vocabulary tests. The second game worked with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection so players could team up together to breeze through quizzes. Think of it as Brain Age for otakus.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports looks at some 2011 import games to look forward to.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week listed the top 20 import games released in 2010.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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