I started off by playing Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn for an unhealthy amount of time. It came out on the 1st, so I was able to start the month off with a real banger. I blew up over 100,000 robots and it was glorious! The games in the Dynasty Warriors Gundam series will forever hold a special place in my heart. There's something magical about decimating thousands of robots with little to no resistance.
After I started winding down from my Dynasty Warriors Gundam high I played a bit of One Piece Unlimited World Red. I intended to play it more than the two times I did, but became distracted by what is now one of my favorite franchises of all time.
I don't remember when in the month it was, but I decided to check the E-shop on the 3DS. That was when I noticed that Inazuma Eleven was on sale because of the world cup. It was only $10 and I had been wanting to try it for a long time. I don't really like soccer, but I am way into anime and games with RPG elements. I promptly downloaded it and ended up playing it for hours. I now have a new obsession that consumes most of my waking thought...
Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn
I don't know that there's a whole lot I can Say about this game. It's another Dynasty Warriors Gundam game. It's the fourth one to be exact. You play as Gundam pilot controlling a Gundam. You walk around a map and push square about a billion times and all the enemy robots around you blow up. It's great! If you don't know anything about the series I wrote up something about the previous game, which you can check out here.
So while I don't really need to describe its appeal I should talk about what's different with it. Obviously there are new Gundams and pilots, but the game itself is actually a bit different as well. The main difference comes with the way you upgrade the Gundams themselves. In the third game you just got blueprints after a battle. In this you still get blueprints, but now they're for specific parts like arms, legs, torso, and head. You can combine them in order to make complete blueprints with all the parts. The combining is actually kind of confusing and I'm still not quite used to it. Each body part can only have two stat boosts, so you need to be careful when combining or you'll often end up making your Gundam worse than it previously was.
|This image perfectly captures the spirit of Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn.|
The way you unlock characters and Gundams is a bit different as well. The game uses a card based system. There is a list of cards in the game and they all have an objective on them. So for example some cards may say you need to beat a specific mission in order to unlock the card. Once you do that you'll gain the card and whatever benefits come from it. This means you'll often need to go to the card list to see what you need to be doing. Some of the stuff is insane, so I don't know if I'll ever be able to 100% this game like I did the last one. To get all the cards you have to be every Gundam and Mobile suit in the game at least five times and blow up at least 2,000 enemies with each, which is bananas. There are so many more Gundams in this game than the previous entry, which was already an insanely large roster.
I'm impressed that Tecmo Koei somehow makes each game in this franchise bigger and better than the last. I was a bit disappointed they didn't dub this game into English though. One of my favorite things to do was make fun of the English voice acting, but this time I just have to settle for reading the corny lines. I'm just glad that they're still putting these games out in the U.S. at all, because I can't imagine they sell extremely well. Hopefully in a year or two I'll be able to once again tell you about my Dynasty Warriors Gundam exploits with a brand new game.
One Piece Unlimited World Red
I played Unlimited World Red twice, but they were two four hour sessions. I got a pretty good feel for what the game is and I like it. Initially when I heard about it people were describing it as a One Piece themed version of Monster Hunter. This isn't entirely accurate, but it's not super far off. It does have a lot of Monster Hunter Elements embedded in it. You do fight large bosses, some of which are creatures, but it's not the focal point of the game.
Most of the time you're wandering around various environments seen in the show. You'll be taken to such locales as Albasta, and Marineford. If you're a fan of the show you'll recognize everything, if not then you wouldn't be playing this game anyways. It's in the original Japanese with subtitles, so Namco Bandai clearly knows the audience that they're targeting with this release.
|If you can name these four characters you'll probably want to buy this game.|
In each locale you'll be collecting materials much like in Monster Hunter. You do this by breaking boxes, and hitting trees. You can also catch bugs and fish. The locales are generally wide open and you'll fight a bunch of smaller enemies as you traverse through them. The combat is akin to Dynasty Warriors where you do basic attack combos by pushing square and triangle. You also have special moves, which can be used to do things to the environment as well. In fact, the entire game seems kind of like it's just Dynasty Warriors where the enemies take more hits and you collect a bunch of items for crafting like in Monster Hunter.
The reason you're collecting stuff is so that you can make expand the hub town. You'll need various things in order to construct buildings and upgrade them. Buildings will give you access to new things to do, such as shop, play mini-games, and take on quests. The quests are very similar to Monster Hunter in that you have a rank, which will increase the more you do. There's even a restaurant, which grants stat bonuses through the combining of various foods.
|The game is all about making this town better.|
The plot is unique to the game. A pirate named Red is messing with Luffy and the crew. He is able to pull from their memories and bring their thoughts into physical space. Due to this ability most of what I played so far involves the Straw Hat crew reliving some of the more memorable fights from the anime. It seems like an excuse to put all the old enemies in the game while still technically having a "new" story.
I bought this game for two reasons. The first being that I am a die-hard One Piece fan. The second was so that I could play multiplayer with a friend. It turns out that the only multiplayer in the PS3 version is local, so I won't be doing any of that. I probably should have gotten the Vita or 3DS version of the game if I had known. I do still enjoy the game though. It's interesting, because it doesn't seem like a generic cash grab, which most anime games tend to be. It's trying to do something unique and while it doesn't entirely succeed it's still super interesting. If you're a One Piece fan you should definitely pick it up!
There was a time a few years ago when I started looking into the Inazuma Eleven franchise. It sounded super appealing to me. A game about a middle school soccer team in Japan who essentially have superhuman abilities. It even had RPG elements to boot! I thought it looked pretty cool, but much to my dismay the game had only been Released in Japan, and Europe. Since the first 2 games were on DS I could have imported them, but the price was a little more than I wanted to pay for a complete unknown.
Fast forward to a few weekends ago when I happened upon the original game for ten dollars on the 3DS eshop. Earlier this year Level 5 finally decided it was time to give the franchise a run in America. In order to do so they put an enhanced version of Inazuma Eleven on the eshop for $20. When I happened upon it the World Cup was going on, so it was only $10. I knew that I had to buy it. What I didn't expect was for the game to consume my every waking thought.
|Welcome to my new obsession!|
The first night I played the game I only intended to try it out, but I ended up playing for six hours straight. Something about it hooked me immediately and it still hasn't let me go. What's crazy is that I don't really like soccer. However, when you take soccer and basically make it an anime I'm apparently all for it. Real soccer players can't call exploding penguins out of the ground, or make a soccer ball burst into flames because they kicked it so hard!
So what is Inazuma Eleven? I'm glad you asked! It's a soccer RPG developed by Level 5. There are now 6 games in the series, and an anime that follows the plot line of the games. All 6 are out in Japan, 4 of them are released in Europe, and there's just the original here in the United States. In the game you play as the Raimon Middle School soccer club. At first they're terrible and the club is in danger of being disbanded, but through a series of coincidences and hard work they turn everything around and end up thwarting and evil plan that threatens to ruin the soccer that they love so much!
I know this probably sounds like I'm messing around, but I'm not. I legitimately love this series. There are two kinds of soccer matches in the game. There are standard 11 on 11 matches, and then there are the 4 vs. 4 random battles. Yes, there are random soccer battles in this game! Yes, that is the best thing ever! You control your players with the DS stylus. Drawing lines from them will make them move and tapping the screen will make them pass the ball. Sounds pretty basic right? Well then you add in special moves. When your player comes into contact with an opposing player the game pauses and gives you some choices. If you have the ball you can either dodge, charge, or use a special move. Dodging will have a low success rate, while charging will have a higher success rate, but you're more likely to foul. Alternatively you could use a ridiculous special move that consumes TP, which is essentially this game's magic. The same thing happens if you're going against someone with the ball, but it changes to tackle and slide tackle. You can also do special shots!
|HIS LEG CATCHES ON FIRE AND IT'S AWESOME!|
As you play your team levels up and learns skills, and it's just the most magical time ever. To make it even better there's a Pokemon-like quality to the game. There are over 1,000 players you can recruit and they even have elements associated with them. Each played is either Fire, Wind, Wood, or Air and that determines what type of players they're strong against. The whole system was basically made for me, and the fact that it's all so over the top and filled with crazy characters makes it even better. Right now I probably sound like a mad man, and I feel like I'm just typing stream of consciousness like some kind of lunatic. I haven't enjoyed a game this much in a very long time. It's like someone made this series specifically for me.
Now as I said the first game is the only one that has been released here in the U.S. Lucky for me the second game was for DS, which was not region locked. I imported the 2nd game and have already played that for over 50 hours as well.
So Much More Inazuma Eleven
The third game in the series came out last year in Europe. While it was released for the DS in Japan it was sadly released for the 3DS in Europe. Much to my dismay the 3DS is region locked, so I had to import a European 3DS. Yes, that's right. I imported a 3DS from England so I could play the remaining 2 English Inazuma Eleven games I have yet to consume. In fact for the past few days I've been playing Inazuma Eleven 3 on my hot new European 3DS.
As we speak the first game in the Inazuma Eleven Go series (The 4th game overall) is en route to my house from jolly old England. Yes, I have played over 100 hours of this series over the course of 3 weeks. Yes, I have spend over $400 dollars purchasing these games and a 3DS. I regret absolutely none of it. I can't get enough of this series, and if my insane madman-like lunacy wasn't enough for you this week you can look forward to some other Inazuma Eleven related content in the coming weeks. I'm going to keep playing these games and it doesn't look like I'm going to be done any time soon.
In terms of other video games I'll be playing Tales of Xillia 2 when it launches halfway through August, and I'll also be getting the re-release of Disgaea 4 on the Vita, so that my Vita can finally get some love. I'll be back at the end of August to regale you with tales of those games and even more Inazuma Eleven!