Monolith Soft rather stole the show in today's Nintendo Direct broadcast, debuting footage of a new RPG designed exclusively for the Wii U. Ornate monsters, enormous levels and transforming vehicles/mecha suggests that the veteran studio will be working on another expansive open-world to explore.
Though the name of the title wasn't specifically mentioned, it's likely to be a sequel or follow-up to Xenoblade Chronicles. Not only does the GUI and combat system look broadly identical, but Shulk, the hero from the original game, also makes an appearance. Plus, the footage ends by displaying a ruddy great "X." We've embedded the video above so you can judge for yourself.
Since I described Xenoblade Chronicles as "the best JRPG in years" when it released at the tail end of 2011, we couldn't be more excited about this. We'll bring you more details as we get them.
TorrentFreak have compiled a projected list of 2011's most illegally-downloaded titles using BitTorrent's trackers and other sources... and the results might surprise you. While Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 are respectively the second and third most pirated PC games of the year, it appears that Crysis 2 tops the dubious charts with a whopping 3,920,000 estimated downloads. Well, it does have a bit of a head start.
On the Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Mario Sports Mix dominate the BitTorrent downloads. Xenoblade Chronicles clocked in at a close third, which was to be expected since many disgruntled US gamers will have probably downloaded it after NoA refused to simultaneously port the localised version to both European and American regions.
In terms of pirated Xbox 360 games, Gears Of War 3 unsurprisingly took the lead with 890,000 downloads, followed (again unsurprisingly) by Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefeld 3. The PS3 has not been included in the report since its Blu-Ray disc format and constantly-evolving firmware suffers from "considerably less" piracy. Full report through the link.
This time last year, I stated that 2010 was a great time to be a games journalist. It was full of scandal and controversy, but apart from a few standout titles, it somewhat failed to launch.
2011, on the other hand, has been a great time to be a gamer. Pure and simple. The big hitters have been absolutely exceptional, and the slow summer months heralded the release of an inordinate number of Indie games that offered us new and unique experiences. We've rarely had it so good, and the choice of personal GOTY has never been more difficult.
"CoD is cold. Battlefield is boring. Duke is dead."
"Well, that's the plan." - Serious Sam 3 Hands-On Preview
Mission accomplished. Croteam proves that the key to making a great FPS isn't to shamelessly copy your triple-A rivals: it's staying true to your principles and delivering your own game, the game you want to make.Click here to read more...
Before he quit his post at Capcom, Keiji Inafune bemoaned the fact that Japanese game development isn't the creative powerhouse that it used to be. And to be honest, he's probably not wrong. In particular, there's a case to be made that we're falling out of love with the whole concept of JRPGs as Western studios continue to deliver hit after roleplaying hit, while the Land Of The Rising Sun continues to become less relevant with each passing month.
But there are still some great JRPGs out there - on a wildly differing array of platforms - and plenty for us lovers of story and spectacle to dive into head first. Here's what we'd consider to be the finest examples of this current generation.
Enchanted Arms failed to cause much of a splash when it launched early in the Xbox 360's life span and subsequently made its way to Sony's console, but it's actually a rather neat little game. An innovative chess-style battle system and the ability to independently train dozens of impeccably designed automatons make it a unique and exciting experience that's well worth a second look if you can find it at a decent price.
It's also an achievement hunter's paradise, if you're interested in that sort of thing.
Mistwalker's JRPG is an epic in any sense of the phrase. Epic value, epic storyline and a ridiculous amount of lore rewards anyone brave enough to plunge into its universe, but the clichéd mechanics, progression and drab art style turned many players off. And hey, it's nice to control a protagonist who's a grizzled (if admittedly still pretty) veteran rather than an awkward androgynous pin-up every once in a while.Click here to continue reading this week's Top Ten!
Platform: Wii (Reviewed)
Developer: Monolith Soft
The UK release of Xenoblade Chronicles poses many questions. The most controversial of which, naturally, is exactly why us Brits have received Monolith Soft's anticipated RPG instead of the United States... who have spent the last few months demonstrating the massive demand by banging their heads against Nintendo Of America's Facebook page.
There's a much more pressing question to be answered, however. Is Xenoblade Chronicles actually any good - and does it worth the insane amount of hype?
The answer is simple. Not only is Xenoblade Chronicles an astounding RPG and a late-game miracle for the Wii, but it's also one of the best games to have come out of Japan this console generation. It's bigger, smarter, more innovative, more nuanaced and more considerate than practically any other JRPG I can name... and just to put the icing on the cake, all the voice acting is British. The term game-changer has never been more apt or profoundly literal.
Click here to read more about this remarkable Wii miracle!