Tag Archives: screenshots

Level-5’s Fantasy Life surfaces after too much silence

At long last, some news about Level-5’s Fantasy Life.

Don’t worry if you forgot that a game of this name even existed, as it’s been some time. Years, in fact, when you consider this blog post of mine from August 2009, in which I am excited and jumpy and full of anticipation for what looked like a great life simulator with a retro look to it from Level-5, a company that I hold in high beams of holy light. That Mother 3-esque visual style eventually got scraped, as did the idea of putting the dang thing on the bereaved Nintendo DS, but the game has still been in the works, now brimming with polygons and a plan to hit the Nintendo 3DS. From a gameplay standpoint, everything still looks the same: create an avatar, select one of twenty jobs, and then do whatever you want.

Some new news is that Fantasy Life will mainly take place in a single city called Kulburk, which will serve as a hub. The city is divided into three sections: the main street, the craftsman’s ward, and a downtown area. The main street houses Kulburk Castle, the library, barracks, and various shops. The craftsman’s ward contains different workshops and will likely be a regular location for players with crafting jobs. The downtown area serves as an entertainment district, with a bustling marketplace and hotspot for social gatherings.

But it’s not just all about running fetch quests for neighbors and decking out your sweet abode with green-themed furniture. This YouTube video clearly reveals moments of combat in what looks like a dungeon. So yeah, that’s cool. Doesn’t seem turn-based either. Hmm…I wonder if only certain jobs get to fight though.

And so we got a bunch of Japanese text-laden screenshots this morning, as well as the promise of a release date by early next week. Here’s hoping this slides on in before holiday 2012 is dead and done as I need some kind of life sim–any life, but my own, really–for my 3DS now that I am totally finished with Professor Layton’s London Life, and it definitely doesn’t seem like Animal Crossing is coming out in the states any time soon. Sigh.

London Life Pauly, and the living’s easy

Have I gone into any long musings yet about London Life, the so-called mini-RPG bonus loaded with over 100 hours of gaming included with Professor Layton and the Last Specter? ::scans Grinding Down‘s archives:: Hmm…looks like a resounding no. For shame! I’ve lost a lot of Happiness.

First, let’s take a look at London Life Pauly in all his snazziness:

Pretty impressive, right? That snazzy top hat just melts your eyes. Normally, I like dressing in fairly bland clothing, the day-to-day stuff like a single-colored polo shirt or something flannel, but that 60 Formality really helps me get inside some of the fancier places in Little London, such as the casino. And you kind of want to get inside everywhere, as it opens up more quests, jobs, and people to mingle with. Let me set this all up a little better.

In London Life, you create an avatar and spend the majority of your days and nights talking with citizens, doing fetch quests for them, buying clothing, decorating your room, fishing, and earning money by completing a number of miscellaneous jobs. If it sounds a lot like Animal Crossing: Wild World, it’s because it is, with a few differences, some better and some worse: you don’t have a mortgage to pay off because you live in a tiny, small apartment studio; citizens in Little London do not really live lives, staying in their respective spots during the day and night times, speaking the same lines of dialogue over and over; and you have to be aware of your avatar’s Happiness, which I guess is a way to keep them alive. I’ve not yet run out of Happiness–though I’ve come dangerously close after some bad spouts of fishing–so I don’t really know what happens when the meter hits zero, but I don’t want to find out. A happy avatar lives better, they say. And there’s plenty to be happy about…

For starters, the writing in London Life is fantastic. And most has to do with the small observations or the flavor text for items, fish, flowers, furniture, and so on. There’s humor to be found in everything. Your avatar can basically examine anything he or she sees, and is rewarded with some text for it. Not just “It’s a desk.” This same level of attention to minutiae is prominently in Professor Layton and the Last Specter, found when tapping around the screen, and it’s greatly welcomed here. The music’s bubbly and bouncy, appropriate for each place you go into. And the graphics…my god, the spritework! It’s just heavenly, and it’s also amazing how well defined different items of clothing can be with just some simple sprites.

Okay, let’s take a look at my cramped living quarters, too:

Used to have a roommate, but he wasn’t down with my toy and stuffed animal collection, so he left. Toodles to him. Little London Pauly collects what he wants, when he wants. Not sure what the benefits of a roommate are, and I guess we share a bed Scott Pilgrim/Wallace Wells style, but whatever. With him gone, it just means I have more space to put stuff down. Such as a stack of books I recently bought. Yay!

I don’t know if there’s actually 100 hours of gaming in London Life, and I don’t really know how many I’ve already spent so far–maybe around six or seven–but there’s definitely a lot of things to do, and it’s just so dang charming that I’m going to keep on doing them until the charm wears off, which will most likely be after I stop getting newspapers full of quests every morning. Will try to check back in again, especially if I’m able to move into a larger pad or if I figure out how to open up that mysterious LOST-like hatch. Since the game is still so new and relatively obscure, there’s not a lot of info out there, which is actually kind of cool. It’s been some time since I’ve had to really figure something out for myself…

New screenshots for LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 are magical

We know, Umbridge. We totally know. But do you hate these new screenshots of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7? Me thinks no.

And I don’t hate them either. In fact, I think they are quite magical, really showing off just how far these LEGO games have come in terms of quality and polish. The lighting effects in the room where Dumbledore and Harry are searching for Professor Slughorn are simply stunning.

Unfortunately, I kind of keep forgetting this game comes out this year. Soon, I think. Late fall or just before the holidays hit. Maybe the blame could fall on the fact that the theatrical series is now over and done, and I was none-too-pleased with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two, confident that it lacked emotion and soul and was just there to end things, not resonate with a core audience. I mean, we’ve seen Hagrid cry over a hippogriff and a spider, and yet when it comes time to shed waterworks over The Boy Who Lived…well, they are strangely not there. He’s a soaking mess in the book, but not the film. Unexplainable. But I digress…

I’m very much looking forward to the coverage of the last book in LEGO form, and no, I’m not a fan of camping. It’s just that…well, I exhausted a lot of time exploring Hogwarts in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, and I know that castle in and out, up and down, diagonally and all around. Maybe the only person who knows it better is Peeves, but you can ask him that yourself. I can only pray that we don’t have to do all that over for years 5 and 6, re-learning spells we already learned back when kids at this school still wore robes. Places of interest I’m stoked for include Grimmauld Place (not the house Tara and I are moving into next month), Godric’s Hollow, and the Ministry of Magic. Years 1-4 did a great job of making the castle an ever-evolving hub world, but that doesn’t mean the same trick needs repeating.

That said, I think the above shot is irrefutable proof that Traveller’s Tales can make any villain–no matter how cruel, how sadistic, how villainous–truly adorable. Hem-hem!

A great videogame is not coming for A Game of Thrones

Evidently, there’s a videogame in the works for A Game of Thrones. This should be cause for excitement and celebration, as the series is riding a great high currently, blowing up bookstores and flatscreens with its epicness and sexy beards. Alas, if you want a game version of Westeros and its politics, I suggest going with the card game or board game version. Heck, feel free to print out my ASoIaF drawings and make them attack each other with your imagination. Do it. Because A Game of Thrones: Genesis from Cyanide Studio does not look promising.

Which sucks, because lore-wise, the game is digging deep, taking place before the events in A Game of Thrones and exploring the time of Aegon the Conquerer. This, of course, even means bringing in dragons and Robert’s Rebellion and other great historical happenings from the good ol’ days of Westeros, of which much is talked about in the books. Maybe even some insight into Lyanna. Who knows. Well, I won’t. Cause I’m not going to play A Game of Thrones: Genesis, not willingly at least.

It looks pretty crappy. The rooftops in this screenshot remind me of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and that was nine, almost ten years ago. Surely we’ve come farther than this. Granted, it’s an RTS game, meaning that for most of the battles and main gameplay, the camera is zoomed out to get a better view of the battlefield and where units are, but still…the graphics are not knocking me back. Everything is clunky and separate, as if the layers are showing. And I promise y’all, I’m not a graphics whore. I just need them to look good enough to not notice the ugly seams, flat textures, and lack of refining. Because Cyanide is obviously going for a more realistic look and failing. Any other style, even a Borderlands look, would have worked better.

Kind of want to see this little game fly…right out the Moon Door!

Originally, I didn’t think the whole A Game of Thrones RPG video from College Humor was all that good. It kind of plays on the same cliches and ideas that these videos cull from. Take something popular, boil it down to Final Fantasy era mechanics and look, add some obvious jokes, and watch the views roll in. But now…I’ll take it. Seven hells, I’ll take it!

Pre-ordered that obscure Radiant Historia game

I am not kidding when I say that the last time I pre-ordered a game was back in 1997 for Final Fantasy VII, and the throw-in bonus was a t-shirt that I turned into a bedtime shirt and wore until it became too faded and frayed for a human boy to possibly wear any longer. That was, uh…some 14 years ago. Wait, is that right? Let’s see. 2011 minus 1997…carry the three…divide by six…multiply by a dozen childhood nostalgic tears. Yup, looks like that was about 14 years ago. How depressing!

Radiant Historia gets the honor of being the second game I’ve ever pre-ordered in my entire gaming life. And naturally, it went down oddly. Here’s a dramatic recreation for y’all:

Pauly: Hi, do you guys do anything special for pre-ordering Radiant Historia? I read something about a soundtrack being included.
GameStop Guy: Wow, yeah. I think we do. Let me check. You’re the first person to ask us about that game actually.
Pauly: Really? The first?
GameStop Guy: Yup. At least when I’m working. [Hits the keyboard with his fingers.] Yeah, if you pre-order, you get a music CD. Don’t know how much music is on it.
Pauly: Okay, great. I’d like to pre-order it then.

And then he asked me this, the emphasis his doing:

GameStop Guy: So, are there any other, uh, obscure games you’d like to pre-order today? How about Okamiden?
Pauly: No, I’m good. Thanks though.

Obscure. What an interesting word choice for Radiant Historia. I mean, yeah, I guess it’s a little off the beaten path, but it still seems to be a heavy hitter this month for the Nintendo DS. March 2011 is gonna be a doozy for the system, with Pokemon Black/White, Monster Tale, and the 3DS coming out, but for right now, Radiant Historia is sitting pretty with little to no direct competition. At least, I certainly hope the game doesn’t end up in retail obscurity. It’s too pretty for a life like that:

Twelve days to go! TWELVE!!!

Games Completed in 2011, #4 – Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

::deep exhale::

If I had cool technology, a better cell phone, or awesome lighting, I’d take a picture of my Nintendo DS screen that listed all my stats for Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies at the time I kicked the end boss to the mortal curb. Alas, I failwhale in that department. You’ll just have to lovingly accept what I give you here as proof that I worked–and am still working–hard to do everything possible from Angel Falls to the Realm of the Almighty:

Time spent playing: 103: 39
Time spent in multiplayer: 01:35
Battle victories: 3,071
Times alchemy performed: 170
Accolades earnt: 43
Quests completed: 41
Grottoes completed: 12
Guests canvassed: 2
Defeated monster list completion: 74%
Warddrobe completion: 37%
Item list completion: 56%
Alchenomicon completion: 33%

Hmm. I know. It’s not as pretty as a screenshot, but it is, as a whole, a wonderful way to sum up my experience with Dragon Quest IX. My fab four, Hadwynnn, Tarla, Kingsley, and Juniper, who I’ve pretty much had since the very beginning of the game, have done a lot; conversely, there is still a lot yet to do. “Beating” the game is a hollow experience. Sure, there’s an end boss, some loose plot resolution, and an ending eeriely close to Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past‘s, which shows us how all the famous locations are going about their days now that true evil has been vanquished. But it’s only then, after the credits roll on by, that the game really opens up.

New quests unlock, and there’s also the bonus content gained from using the DQVC and such. I think I have over forty quests titled ????? just sitting pretty, waiting for this day to come. More grottoes to clear, more clothes to collect, more fiendish thingies to make, and I’m also contemplating changing my main character’s vocation now that he is capped at 100 in his whip skills. Maybe something that lets him wield a boomerang? Evidently the new story-related quest I’m on now, the first post-game one, will net me my own personal flying train to let me travel around the map kind of like the magical phoenix form from Dragon Quest VIII did. That’s gonna be sweet because I know a few unreachable spots on the map have been teasing me for far too long.

Unfortunately, this quest is a bit of a mindmess to put it politely. Let’s take a looksie at what exactly we’re being asked to do:

Quest #039 – Follow That Fish
Location: Porth Llafan
Request: Summon Lleviathan by wearing a Watermaul Wand, Flowing Dress, and Silver Shield and then defeat him.

Yeah, sounds simple, right? It’s not. Two of the three items require rare ingredients to create. Thankfully, I already acquired a Watermaul Wand earlier on. I was able to use the Krak Pot and make a Flowing Dress. Really hope my male character doesn’t have to equip that to bring about Lleviathan. The problem I’m having now is that I don’t have enough items to make a Silver Shield. My next best option is to buy it new from the upgraded shop in Stornway, but it’s around 30,000 gold. So, my options are as such: 1) grind until I get 30,000 gold or 2) grind until I get enough alchemy items to make it myself. Either way…uh, grinding.

At least this game continues to keep me busy, keep me interested. That said, I’m really not looking forward to battling Lleviathan…again. But yeah, this is going on the “2011 games completed” list because 103 hours is far too many hours to devote to a single piece of media and not feel like you’ve done far and above what was set. I can’t ever imagine re-playing Dragon Quest IX a second time, but the good news is I never will have to…I can just keep on playing it from my very first time, from way back in July 2010!

Knives Chau DLC announced for Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game

I’ve still not gotten past Roxie in Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game, but the makers of said title care very little for my insufficient gaming skills as new DLC has just been announced for the game. For about $1.99, the new DLC will give us a new character to play as–Knives Chau, 17 years old, Chinese–and two new modes to experience: Dodge Ball and Battle Royale. The former is more or less what you think it is, and the latter is more akin to a Super Smash Bros style gameplay. This DLC should supposedly coincide with the film’s November 2010 release on DVD, which I’m totally buying Day One.

More Scott Pilgrim goodness for a measly two bucks? Count me in.

Also, there’s going to be a patch released soon to help fix the difficulty level of “Average Joe” as well as knock out some annoying bugs found throughout. The first time SPVTWTG froze on me I thought it was the devs having a laugh at how old games like that would crash all the time. The third and fourth time it froze, I was no longer smiling. So this is a must-need-now sort of thingy. I really like bitesize DLC and free patches, all in all.

Want some early screenshots? Click below…

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