Ys is a series that gets far less attention than it deserves. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that Americans have not really gotten to experience as many of the adventures of Adol the Red as their Japanese counterparts. There are also some people that are probably turned away simply by its title; it’s not exactly intuitive to pronounce it as ‘ease.’ Regardless, Nihon Falcom and XSeeD are determined to rectify the first issue by releasing more games stateside, hoping to give Americans more time with the top-down action RPG series. That’s where Ys Seven comes in, and as it takes the series in many new directions, there’s a lot to like. (more…)
Bio: Jordan Jackson
- Jordan "J_Sensei" Jackson
- Ever since I was a little kid, I've always played games. I started on an Atari, and now I'm playing games on the current generation of hardware. I played most of the first generation Nintendo games, but when I started Dragon Warrior, I discovered my love for the RPG genre.
When I'm not playing games, I'm usually spending time with my lovely wife Caroline. We spend most evenings snuggled on the couch while we watch TV or play games together.
My other hobby, though I admit I don't give it nearly as much time as I used to, is Gundam. I love a good mecha anime, and nothing does it quite like a Gundam show. I've seen nearly every series out there, and I have built five perfect grade models.
I guess from all this, one can easily surmise that I am 27 going on 13. I don't mind that one bit, and I'd be disappointed if that changed. I've always been young at heart, and I intend to stay that way.
Posts by Jordan Jackson
Final Fantasy is a series well known for its ports and remakes, but out of the series, one game stands above them all as one of the most frequently remade games of all time. Final Fantasy IV has seen six iterations over the years appearing on the SNES, PlayStation, WonderSwan Color, GameBoy Advance, the Nintendo DS, and finally the PSP as Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection. Along with an updated Final Fantasy IV, players will also get Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and a new mini-story titled Final Fantasy IV: Interlude which helps slightly to tie the two main games together. It’s a lot of game in a very small package, so the question becomes is there still life in Final Fantasy IV? (more…)
Dissidia: Final Fantasy was a game that kind of took players by surprise. On the one hand, it’s hard to believe that it took this long to make a fighting game out of Final Fantasy, and on the other hand, it’s hard to believe that you could honestly make it work. The result was one of the best games on the PSP to date, so when a prequel was announced, it had some big shoes to fill. Ultimately, Dissidia 012 is a fantastic, yet oddly named game that needs to be in your library. (more…)
Dragon Quest is one of the biggest franchises in Japan, but it took much longer to catch on in North America. Americans did get access to the first four games, but after that, the series went into relative obscurity. We completely missed Dragon Quest V and VI. Were Dragon Quest games like largely unconnected Final Fantasy series, this would not be as big of a deal, but the Dragon Quest series is known for trilogies. The middle three games form what is known as the Zenithian trilogy, all telling a loosely connected tale about sacred equipment and the heroes that can use it. Despite coming third, Dragon Quest VI actually predates the others in the timeline and helps explain the origin of the myths that play such a central role in the set.
Unlike North America, Japan has had a booming market for cell phone games for several years, and many popular RPG series have had mobile installments on Japanese phones. Kingdom Hearts: Coded was one such game, originally downloaded to phones in monthly installments. Fortunately, there is a trend to release some of these games on mobile gaming platforms like the DS and PSP with improvements in graphics and pre-rendered videos. This, in turn, brings us to Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded, a prime example of how to use a handheld’s accessibility while maintaining the feel of the original game (more…)
Castlevania is one of today’s oldest and most iconic gaming series, with its roots tracing all the way back to the NES. Back in those days, it was a platformer famous for its tricky jumps fraught with traps that usually resulted in an untimely death. With the PlayStation came Symphony of the Night, a game that expanded upon the basic gameplay of Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest and incorporated the exploration of the Metroid series to create a very long running and well-liked RPG series. With the Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation 2, the series went 3D, and those games are largely considered disastrous by all but the most hardcore fans. With Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the series tries to merge all three styles of gameplay into a cohesive game, and it largely succeeds, albeit not without copying a few other games along the way. (more…)
If you had told me ten years ago that one of my most anticipated games of the year would be a Kingdom Hearts game, I’d say you were crazy. This world is full of many ridiculous things, but a collaboration between Squaresoft and Disney?! That was possibly the silliest thing I’d ever heard of. And my wife wanted it. After watching her play for a bit, I saw that the game had an intriguing story, and I quickly became immersed in the world of keyblades and Heartless. Like so many other people, I was amazed at the complexity of the story, and I have eagerly waited for each subsequent game to mete out a little bit more of the lore that gets expanded upon with each new game. Birth by Sleep takes us ten years before the original Kingdom Hearts, and it might just be the best game in the series yet. (more…)
When I was a young boy in kindergarten, my parents bought me a brand new Nintendo Entertainment System. I used to sit in bed thinking about what games would look like in the future. I imagined that games would take your picture, and instead of Mario’s head, you’d see your own. With games like the arcade version of Mario Kart, that became a reality. I also thought that games would be in 3D, but at the time, I couldn’t even imagine that today’s graphics would be such detailed models with hundreds or thousands of polygons. I envisioned pixels, stacked on top of one another building a world. As the years went by, I chalked that fantasy up to boyhood dreaming and to the silly thoughts of a five-year-old. Now with 3D Dot Game Heroes, I’ve found that I wasn’t the only one to have this idea.
Since its announcement in 2006, fans of the series have eagerly anticipated Final Fantasy XIII. It was arguably one of the biggest stories to come out of E3 that year, and considering all of the announcements that year, that’s saying something. And then in 2008, Microsoft finally dropped the bombshell that people had been expecting for years; Final Fantasy XIII was coming to PS3 and 360. The net result has been four years of almost nonstop hype, which made the wait for the game all the longer. So now, the question remains; was it worth the wait? I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that it was. (more…)
The Legend of Zelda franchise is one of the oldest action RPG series out there, and it is unique in that it has consistently offered a similar experience, whether it is played on a console or a handheld. Zelda is and always will be all about exploring dungeons, finding hidden items, and then using them to solve the puzzles within. It is this core experience that brings players back again and again, some in spite of the similarities from game to game and some because of them. When the franchise made the move to the DS, many questioned whether it could work with its all-stylus control scheme. Phantom Hourglass silenced many a naysayer, but sadly, Spirit Tracks does not have the same punch that its predecessor had. (more…)
When it was announced, Dissidia: Final Fantasy sounded like an interesting concept: a fighting game starring Final Fantasy characters. At first glance, you might think it is the spiritual successor to Ehrgeiz. You’d be wrong. The only thing this game has in common with that PS1 brawler is the inclusion of Cloud and Sephiroth among the cast. Make no mistakes about it. This is an action RPG at its finest, and for fans that have dutifully played the first ten Final Fantasy games, it’s chock full of nostalgia and gameplay that will keep you coming back. (more…)
In Japan, crossover games have been around for a long time, and in the case of Super Robot Wars, some have spawned an entire successful series. But on this side of the Pacific, these games almost never make an appearance, primarily due to licensing issues and western gamers not being exposed to the source material. Cross Edge is one of the first games in the crossover genre to make it to North America so fans on this side of the planet can see what they’ve been missing.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was an interesting experiment back in the days of the GameCube, a system known for its multiplayer prowess. Though the game could be played solo, it was clearly intended to be played with friends, but it came with one tiny hitch. In an effort to promote the GBA and the ill-fated GBA link cable, multiplay required separate GBAs with cables for each player. When the series made the move to the DS, Ring of Fates improved the situation tremendously by providing a game that could be enjoyed solo or with friends, but the multiplayer required a local connection. The third attempt, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, is a valiant attempt to get it right, but in the end, it still falls short. (more…)
The Ys (pronounced like the word ‘ease’) series has had a long and successful career in Japan with the seventh numbered entry announced, several remakes, and at least two spin-off games. Until recently, the only Ys titles ever translated for North American release were 3 and 6. Atlus decided to change all that by bringing over Legacy of Ys: Books I & II, a DS remake of the first two games. (more…)
Japan was first introduced to the exploits of Prince Marth of Altea in 1990 when Fire Emblem: The Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light was released on the Famicom. In North America, gamers got their first look at Marth in Smash Bros. Melee, a fighting game filled to the brim with various Nintendo characters. With his subsequent appearance in Smash Bros. Brawl, gamers on this side of the world have been eager to learn more about this blue-headed prince. Fortunately, with the DS remake, fans can finally see how the series began with Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.
The immense popularity of the DS has allowed North American gamers to get their hands on several games that previously never saw release on this side of the world. Like so many other games of the 8-bit and 16-bit era, Dragon Quest V has been completely remade as Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride. (more…)
The gaming world is filled with unusual mascot characters. Nintendo has a rotund Italian plumber that eats mushrooms to gain power. Sega gave us an insanely fast hedgehog with a surly attitude and a flying two-tailed fox for a friend. However, none are quite so unique, offbeat, or downright strange as the Prinny: the knife wielding, peg-legged, exploding penguins that embody the souls of sinners punished to a lifetime of slavery. Also, they say “dood” a lot. In Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?, the seemingly weakest creatures in the Netherworld star in their own game. (more…)
When Square Enix released Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ in Japan, the little extra bit that gave it the plus was a PS2 remake of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, which was originally released on the GBA. Sadly, we never got either Final Mix in North America, but at least we get the remake of Chain of Memories as Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories for those of us that never played it on the GBA or just feel like going through Castle Oblivion again. (more…)
Over a decade ago, Konami introduced a new look to the Castlevania series. Gone was the notion of lives and linear stages, and in their place was a giant castle to explore, twice in fact. The game was widely acclaimed, and soon others like it began to appear on Nintendo’s handheld systems. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is third game to appear on the DS and the seventh game in the genre, and with some interesting departures, it is the best so far. (more…)
These days, remakes are all the rage, and many of them are finding their way onto Nintendo’s dual-screened portable juggernaut. These transitions typically mean new features as well as the expected boosts in graphics and sound, but they also mean comparisons to games that have been released years and sometimes even a decade after the initial release of the source material. In this light, remakes are unique in that they must compete with games of the past, present, and future in a modern day setting, yet Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen for the DS manages to hold its own. (more…)