Ni no Kuni

The gorgeous world of Ni No Kuni

The gorgeous world of Ni No Kuni

Hayao Miyazaki’s a genius! I just recently spent a weekend re-watching “My Neighbour Totoro”, “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke” which got me thinking about Ni no Kuni, a game that is currently being developed by Level-5 (the makers of Dragon Quest VIII, Rogue Galaxy & the recent White Knight Chronicles). Based on what I’ve seen so far. I’m like… Wow. Ni no Kuni is one beautiful game and the best part of it is that it features character designs and animated sequences by Studio Ghibli themselves.

The main protagonist Oliver & his magical friend

The main protagonist Oliver & his magical friend

The Nintendo DS is definitely the best platform for RPGs right now and there’s a tonne of stuff to play; which is great! I am so looking forward to Ni no Kuni and am currently waiting for my copy of Dragon Quest IX which my colleague helped order off Play-Asia. If Ni no Kuni has the same charm as a Studio Ghibli movie then I’m pretty sure the game’ll be a hit in Japan. It’ll be a welcome addition to my small but solid library of DS games.

The beautiful world of Ni no Kuni

The beautiful world of Ni no Kuni

For more on Ni no Kuni check out the Japanese trailer that was released at TGS o9′.

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Ready, Steady, GO!

Sony's PSPgo.

Sony's PSPgo.

The Sony PSPgo has just launched and it’s gonna be one pricey portable. I love the way it looks but the price point would make most people think twice about getting one. The one major thing that I like about the device is its slide-out controls that make the whole thing compact. I wonder when I’ll be able to see one here in Malaysia? Hmmm… maybe it’s here already cos’ PS3 Slim units got in pretty early. But I digress, today’s post is not about the PSPgo but rather it’s about portable gaming habits & preferences.

After gaming for years I’ve come to a realisation that the games that I really get into on a portable are very different compared to what I play on their bigger cousins. So what is it that I like to play on my Nintendo DSi? Well, I’ve figured out that pick up & go games make for great additions to my library. Why? Here are a few reasons why I prefer arcade-styled games on a portable:

  1. They are easy to pick up & put down for small bouts of gaming.
  2. Short games are great for times when I’m waiting for someone or something to start.
  3. It doesn’t take a lot of time to complete a level.
  4. Near infinite replayability because you main objective usually is to break a high score.

My all-time favourite game right now is Metroid Prime: Pinball! It’s a great pick up & play game and you get hours and hours of fun with it. There are loads of micro game modes within the pinball levels that include shoot em’ up-styled bits and even boss fights. It’s a great game that comes bundled with a rumble pak for that added zing for those of you who are still on the older Nintendo DS or DS Lite.

Metroid Prime: Pinball. Really good fun.

Metroid Prime: Pinball. Really good fun.

Here’s a full list of games that make my Top 5 Chart.

  1. Metroid Prime: Pinball
  2. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
  3. Disgaea DS
  4. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
  5. Animal Crossing: Wild World

What kinda games do you play on your portable? Drop me a line cos’ I’d love to hear from some of ya out there. Comments please!

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

Did you know that Tunku Abdul Rahman shouted Merdeka seven times at Stadium Merdeka when we achieved independence in 1957? I betcha you many don’t know that cos’ I thought he only did it 3 times till 3 days ago. Ha ha ha ha ha! How sadly unpatriotic I am but nevertheless I love Malaysia to bits. I doubt I’d ever leave this the Asian Garden of Eden that’s full of such delicious delights!

It’s been a wonderful Merdeka weekend that started with Juwita performing at IKANO’s Golden Merdeka Celebration Street Party. That was a blast and I got to meet Zainal Abidin, Reshmonu & Vince! We hung out with Vince & his sister Vanessa most of the day and chatted and chatted and chatted! It was fun! Got to meet Hannah T too and she’s like super nice! I don’t have any pix of myself though but that’s generally the case when I wander around snapping shots with my camera phone.

Ju singing "One Golden Celebration".

Ju singing "One Golden Celebration".

Fireworks at the stroke of midnite!

Fireworks at the stroke of midnite!

On Merdeka day itself I spent half of my day at The Curve cos’ we needed to complete our registration for the Gemilang Merdeka Race which a bunch of us had entered together. Managed to catch some of the festivities which included a marching band all dressed up in kilts! It was good fun and we waited for a balloon drop but unfortunately none of us won the iPod Shuffles that were up for grabs. Gah!

The Curve Marching Band!

The Curve Marching Band!

And just today 6 of us made it into the finals for the Gemilang Merdeka Race! Yay! Hopefully my team-mate and I will be able to do our best and perhaps win the Macbooks! It’d be so nice to have a new laptop. My iBook’s getting a wee bit old.

The Curve Gemilang Merdeka Race 07 Gang!

The Curve Gemilang Merdeka Race 07 Gang!

After the race the boys and I went over to Subang for some paint-ball & we shot some pool to celebrate Shawn’s upcoming wedding to Jac. I’ll put up shots of us in our get-up but needless to say it’s been a good weekend. I found myself thinking of “her” some but I guess we just gotta move on and live life right?

Boys' Nite Out!

Boys' Nite Out!

The weekend’s still not over yet though! We’ve still got the race tomorrow and I’m gonna fill up more time and live life as full as I can. Maybe I’ll spend a bit of time on the Wii as I just picked up a copy of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption plus I just figured out how to buy Wii Points online so we (my brother & I) can now download Virtual Console games! Heh heh! It’s been a good weekend so far and I just thank God so much for life and for being able to enjoy it more even though I still wake up most mornings with such a deep ache but He’s been there and He always will. He makes my days better! Definitely!

For more pix click here! Cheers everybody and happy 50th Merdeka to all my fellow Malaysians! MERDEKA!!!

Tales of Symphonia

Yes … Tales of Symphonia for the Nintendo Gamecube. By writing this I have now revealed that I am the proud owner of a silver finished Nintendo Gamecube which many write off because it is not sexy and childish looking. I would have to agree that it does look like a toy but I will have to step up to its defense because the Cube has loads of unique games which the PS2 doesn’t have. Also its sad to say that the PS2 also has a load of crap titles that would make hardcore gamers cringe in pain.

Oops! I’m digressing, this is supposed to be a video game review not an exclusive fevered ramble about the PS2 or Gamecube. Ha ha ha ha ha! Yes … I have officially now entered a state of feverish video game addiction induced rambling. Crud, I can’t make a cool acronym out of the letters F, V, G, A and R.

Anywayz, as I was saying I spent a good portion of August & September playing hours upon hours of Tales of Symphonia. It’s not your regular turn-based RPG but rather an action based when that uses a simple yet challenging combo system in battles with your enemy. Since I’m on the subject of gameply now, let’s talk about it first. The battle system is truly one of the more unique systems I’ve played with in a console based RPG. In any given battle, you control one character in real-time while the rest of your companions act according to a AI settings that you can tweak. I must say that I wasted lots of time running around the world map beating the snot out of all manner of enemies just to get more gald (also known as money in our world) and also to see if I could perform better combos. It came to a point when I didn’t bother advancing the story that much but spent huge chunks of time fighting random battles just for the heck of it. It was addictive and yes it was MINDLESS! My kind of escape from reality.

The plot of the game wasn’t that original but it did keep me engrossed till the very end. The characters were very likeable especially the girl-obsessed Zelos whom I found to be extremely entertaining. The best part of the game was that it never took itself too seriously which was a breath of fresh air compared to other RPGs out there in the market. I shall not give away too much about the plot or characters, suffice to say each of the characters are pretty interesting although not too original.

The graphics are nice and the game engine uses a cel-shaded style to represent all the characters in the game. The backgrounds aren’t really 3D but its all done up a water-coloured style just like in a cartoon. Not the greatest of graphic engines but then again not the worst I’ve seen either. At least it didn’t put me off while I was playing the game (I’m a sucker for pretty graphics, even if a game has great gameplay it’s kinda hard for me to continue playing a game if the graphics suck).

The game has lots of stuff for you to unlock and collect. Everything from skills, items to alternate character costumes; that and a host of mini-games to play. Completists would have a field day with this game should they choose to find all the stuff that the game has hidden in the 2 discs this game comes on.

Overall this game was a fun romp for me. And it certainly gave me a gateway out of reality for a number for a couple of months. I didn’t play it straight non-stop all the way to the end but by ending it, it goes to show that this game was pretty fun. It’s been officially 2 weeks since I ended the game and I most likely will go through it again a second through in the future just to see how much more stuff I can unlock and whether or not I’ll be able to beat my personal best of getting a 103-hit combo. It’s 1:36am now and since I’m not that dedicated a blogger I shall end this review now by giving Tales of Symphonia a 8.5 out of 10!

Good night people … or rather good morning. It’s time to hit the sack!

Fun Factor: 8 out of 10
Addictiveness: 8 out of 10
Graphics: 7 out of 10
Overall Grade: 8.5 out of 10