There are very few franchises in the role-playing genre that have maintained a top level of quality throughout it's lifespan, the Tales series is one of them. Widely regarded as one of the finest second-tier role-playing games (here in the West), the Tales series dates back to the Super Famicom so a new installment was to be expected. Namco Bandi recently revealed Tales of Vesperia, the latest in the franchise, is exclusive to the Xbox 360 - for now.
The tenth in the series hitting the X360 echoes a strong backing for the western-made console by Namco Bandai, who have previously released Beautiful Katamari, Ace Combat 6 and Eternal Sonata on the Microsoft platform. While the title is currently an Xbox 360 exclusive everyone, including the game's director Yoshito Higuchi, expects the title to find it's way onto the PlayStation 3 eventually. During an interview with Play Magazine Higuchi was very direct when asked if the title would ever breathe life on Sony's platform. "Yes, I won't deny the possibility," Higuchi told Play. "But we're not thinking about it yet-there are so many other things to concentrate on first."
A new trailer for Eternal Sonata has popped up on Xbox Live Marketplace. The new trailer focuses on the game's unique combat system and also gives us a glimpse of the various playable characters and enemies in the game. One of the more interesting aspects of the combat system is the interaction between light and dark. You can see this in the video when enemies move between light and dark areas of the combat field. Oftentimes this results in otherwise harmless looking enemies transforming into giant monstrosities. Overall, the combat system looks very engaging, and we're eager to take the full game for a spin. Eternal Sonata hits retail shelves on September 17th. Don't forget there is also a demo available on XBLM right now.
During an Eternal Sonata conference call last night, we managed to clarify some details on the game and even uncover some new details. First of all, we learned that the game should take about 30 hours to complete for players that wish to simply charge through. If, however, you wish to complete all the side-quests (and you won't get the full story if you don't), it will take much longer. In fact, some of the side-quests aren't even accessible on the first play-through, so players will have at least some incentive to go through the game more than once. RPG fans hoping for some downloadable goodness on par with Blue Dragon will likely be disappointed to hear that very little is planned at this point. In fact, the only DLC planned right now is actually an unlock key to listen to music from the game. What's more, this content is unlockable in the game itself, so the DLC is basically moot. On a more positive note the game will contain both English and Japanese voice tracks, so purists won't have to cover their ears.
If you couldn't bring yourself to purchase a copy of Official Xbox Magazine (or if you don't have wonderful Japanese friends), you can now finally download the Eternal Sonata demo from Xbox Live Marketplace. The demo gives players a chance to stretch their legs a bit and get used to the game's interesting, pseudo real time combat system. If you've made it this long without trying it out, you should really give it a go. Oh, there is also a Vampire Rain demo that is available everywhere except Germany, Korea, Taiwan, or the United States. We were beginning to get mighty angry about that, but then we remembered it was Vampire Rain.
The Eternal Sonata trailer that was showed you from IGN is now available on Xbox Live Marketplace in HD. It weighs in at 71 MB, and gives you a better scope on the the game's world, art style and gameplay. As we said before, the game follows the final hours of composer Frederic Chopin, while in a feverish dream state. All of that to say that we still can't wait for this to hit come September, though we hope it doesn't get crushed under the weight of Halo 3's release on the 25th. Either way, if you didn't watch the embedded trailer, or thought the quality didn't give you a proper impression, check it out on XBLM.
Our friends at Xboxygen report that Atari has signed a deal with Namco Bandai to publish both Trusty Bell -- known as Eternal Sonata in the U.S. -- and Ace Combat 6 in Europe. X3F readers will remember that Trusty Bell made a splash in the Japanese market last week, landing in the number 2 sales spot. The game tells the tale of a fantasy world -- actually the fever dream of a dying Frederic Chopin -- in dire straights, and it features many musical motifs. Ace Combat 6 is the latest entry in the long running Namco flight combat series, and is the first to appear on a non-Sony console. It's currently unknown if Atari plans to release the Ace Combat 6flight stick controller bundle in Europe.
Both games are expected to launch in Europe this fall.
Stop the presses, hold the phone, and list some clichés, because an Xbox 360 game has reached the number 2 spot on the Japanese sales charts. Yes, Eternal Sonata, known as Trusty Bell in Japan, clawed its way to the number 2 spot with 49,334 copies sold, beaten only by Practice by Observing: DS Observation Training for the DS. It is unclear how many copies sold were part of the Trusty Bellbundle we reported back in April. If you haven't been keeping track, the Xbox 360 hasn't really fared too well in Japan, so a number 2 game is a momentous occasion indeed. This becomes particularly apparent in light of the fact that Blue Dragon, developed by the creator of Final Fantasy himself, only managed to hit number 4 (though it actually sold more copies). We'll be keeping our eye out for the hardware charts to see if the Xbox 360 got a much needed boost last week as well.
The Xbox 360, to put it mildly, hasn't fared terribly well in Japan thus far. Routinely selling only a couple thousand units every week, the 360 needs a serious kick in the pants if Microsoft hopes to make even a modest dent in the Japanese market. For this reason, it's heartening to see an Xbox 360 game claw its way to the top of the Amazon Japan bestseller list. The game in question is the Namco Bandai RPG Eternal Sonata, known as Trusty Bell in Japan. It would seem that demand has crescendoed (get it?) before the game's launch, slated for June 14 according to Amazon Japan. Granted, Amazon is a fickle beast. The number one bestseller could change next week, tomorrow, or even in a couple of hours, but it's nice to see a 360 title beat out the PS2 and even the mighty DS.
The only question now: does Eternal Sonata have the power to sell Xbox 360s in Japan? We'll know soon enough.
If you're crafty enough to find it, an Eternal Sonatademo is now available on Xbox Live Marketplace. We downloaded the demo yesterday and took it for a spin. First thing's first, the game is very pretty. While the geometry is actually very simple, the art style and the cel shaded characters are just jaw-dropping. The animation is well done and even the voice acting is decent (the demo features full English dialogue and menus). The big question is: how does it play? Read on to find out.
Find yourself hankering for a whimsical, musical adventure? If so, we hope you didn't delete all those incredibly legitimate foreign Xbox Live accounts from your beloved 360. You see, a demo for Trusty Bell (Eternal Sonata in the States) has landed on the Japanese Marketplace. Now, considering Microsoft's recent crackdown (no, not thatCrackdown) on foreign content downloading, this shouldn't really be big news. That's all well and good, but it turns out that the demo works just fine on U.S. consoles. Even better, it features full English dialogue and menus.
Why does it work? Why isn't it blocked by Microsoft's newfangled security measures? Our guess is that the security measures are mostly a one-way affair. In other words, they are for keeping U.S. content in, and not for keeping non-U.S. content out. Whatever the reason is, we suggest all of our RPG-starved readers get to downloading.
Any luck downloading this for our European friends?
1UP has posted a video discussion about Eternal Sonata, the upcoming RPG from Namco Bandai. Not too many new details are revealed, though we do learn a few things about the game's plot and a few tidbits about the combat engine. The plot revolves around a group of young heroes trying to put a stop to the machinations of one Count Waltz (waltz, get it?). The local forest is being destroyed by a mining operation digging for mineral powder. It seems that this powder is a miracle cure, similar to a floral powder already in use. However, Waltz has decreed that mineral powder shall be exempt from taxation, effectively killing the market for floral powder. The catch is that mineral powder actually makes people dangerously psychotic. Naturally, our heroes are out to get to the bottom of things.
As a rule, if you want to sell consoles in Japan, you'd better have some good RPGs available. Microsoft knows this, and is doing everything in its power to secure some decent Japanese titles for it's uphill battle in the Land of the Rising Sun. Late last year, Microsoft released a Blue Dragon bundle, which quickly sold out and gave the Xbox 360 a hearty but brief boost. Microsoft looks to repeat that success by bundling the 360 with the upcoming RPG from Namco and tri-Crescendo, Trusty Bell (known as Eternal Sonata in the west). X3F readers will recall that Eternal Sonata left Joystiq with a good impression in March. The bundle will include an Xbox 360 core system, Trusty Bell, and a special soundtrack DVD. The bundle's price has not yet been set. Of course, you can tack on the price of a memory card or hard drive to the bundle's price, as players won't be able to save their progress otherwise. While Trusty Bell isn't likely to have the same impact as Blue Dragon, it is expected that the RPG will generate a small amount of "buzz" for the console.
The new bundle will be available on June 14th in Japan.
GameVideos has posted some footage from the upcoming Eternal Sonata, Namco's magical adventure starring Chopin and his musical cohorts. The video embedded above showcases the game's combat engine, which was detailed by Joystiq last week. Players will have 5 seconds to deal as much damage as possible. The combat plays out in real time but the five second timer only drains when players are moving or performing actions. In other words, players have as much time as they need to come up with a strategy before actually moving. All in all, it looks like a very interesting combat system and should provide a nice change of pace for RPG fans that are sick of turn based combat.
The second video displays some of the game's story elements. We have to issue a warning though. The video is technically safe for work, but passerby may question your manhood if they see you watching it (as long as you happen to be a man, of course). The graphics are bright and colorul, making good use of outlining characters in a cartoon style. It's not exactly cel shading but it's close. Check out the second video after the break.
Joystiq got a chance to sit down and get some play time with the upcoming Eternal Sonata, known as Trusty Bell in Japan. We've been intrigued by the title's quirky premise (Chopin and his magical, musical friends go on a whirlwind adventure) ever since Eternal Sonata was first announced. Joystiq reports that the game's combat system is actually real time. Characters still take turns fighting, but each character has approximately five seconds per turn to deal as much damage as possible. Extending the real time combat is a battle system called Echoes. Essentially, as you string together melee attacks, you build the strength of potential spells. The Echoes system is also used to power up party based spells.
Joystiq also reveals that there is no traditional overworld map and that players are free to explore as they wish. Additionally, there are 10 playable characters and players may organize their 4 person party in any manner that they wish, though certain situations will require the use of certain characters. Hit the "read" link for Joystiq's detailed impressions. Also, check out the Eternal Sonata gallery for plenty of beautiful screen shots.