There were many games available for play at this year’s Namco Bandai booth but there were a particular few that caught my eye: Fragile: Sayonara Tsuki no Haikyo, Taiko no Tatsujin, Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2, and The Idolmaster SP.
Fragile: Sayonara Tsuki no Haikyo (Wii)
The main character is a young boy named Seto and the game is set in a desolate town overgrown that seems to have been abandoned by its inhabitants for many years. Buildings are old and show signs of wear while cars line the streets but are consumed in shrubbery.
The playable version of this game begins as Seto must search for the origin of an enigmatic voice that calls out to him. In one hand, he is carries a flashlight to light his way in the darkness and in the other he wields a golf club as a weapon. All of the enemies that appeared during the demo seemed to resemble eerie apparitions and included bodiless legs, jellyfish, and rabid wolves. Battling occurs in real-time and in order to successfully attack enemies, Set must aim the flashlight at his target.
The controls for Fragile require the use of both the WiiMote and the Wii Nunchuck attachment. The Nunchuck’s joystick is used as the main directional control to move Set and help him explore his surroundings. In conjunction with the Nunchuck, the Wii-mote is used to battle and investigate any objects of interest which include opening doors. I found coordinating my hands somewhat difficult in the beginning since you must actually aim the Wii-mote at whatever you intend to attack/investigate, and during times of danger (especially in the dark), it’s very easy to get flustered.
Taiko no Tatsujin (Wii)
Beginning as a popular arcade game and leaping to make several home versions on the Nintendo DS, Playstations Portable, and Playstation 2, it was only a matter of time before Taiko no Tatsujin would debut on the Wii. Fans of this series can expect the Wii version will be chock full of all sorts of J-pop, anime music, western classical music, traditional Japanese festival music, and video game themes.
The Wii version will outfit itself with a mini-taiko drum complete with a set of two Taiko drum sticks. During game play, players must coordinate their left and right hands to be able to successfully beat on the drum according to the prompts on the screen. The responsive area of the Wii drum is only the drum top and its immediate sides. However, during my play session, more often than not, my drum beats were either delayed or did not register at all. Hopefully, the reason for this is because either a) I’m really, really bad or b) all the people who had been playing before me beat all the sensitivity out of the poor little drum to make it unresponsive.
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2 (PSP)
Much like its predecessor, Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology, this sequel labels itself a unique genre – kimi no tame no RPG, which literally means “for your sake RPG”. This game features many characters from an assortment of previously released Tales titles that include but are not limited to Tales of Phantasia, Tales of Destiny, Tales of Symphonia, and Tales of Legendia. It’s been rumored that the total number of characters appearing in this game totals to about 50.
Not only will the supporting cast be extensive, but players will also be able to completely customize their characters with via a plethora of different options. You can choose between a female or male main character and then determine his/her appearance by changing such details as hairstyle, eyes, mouths, skin color, voice, pose, fighting style. A character’s clothes can even be changed according to different types of armor that is acquired throughout the game.
Battles in Radiant Mythology 2 occur in real-time and depend upon different button combinations in order to release multi-combo attacks. There are no random encounters as enemies are always able to be seen while traversing an area meaning that this gives players the option to fight or flee as they see fit.
The Idolmaster SP (PSP)
The premise for The Idolmaster SP is that it’s a music rhythm game that follows the career of a producer who works for a production studio armed with task of working with a selection of prospective pop idols. The game originated in Japanese arcades and went on to see many spin-offs in terms of console versions and an anime series. The game usually features popular japanese voice actors who lend their talent to voice many of the potential pop idols.
I would have liked to try this game at Namco Bandai’s booth, but the line was so extensive that it dissuaded me from pursuing it. One interesting thing about the people waiting in line to demo this game was that a vast majority were surprisingly male.