Saturday, November 7, 2009
Having been following the Japanese PSN videos for this, I discover today that the slightly hentai-esque strategy-RPG-meets-dating-sim by Idea Factory has not only been localised into English, but is on sale. RIGHT NOW. Under the name of Agarest: Generations of War.
I’d watched the PSN videos of this and thought: it looks cool, but it’ll never come out here, much like eroge Tears to Tiara: Kakan no Daichi, and several other Japan-only PS3 games, including Way of the Samurai 3. Well, not only has Way of the Samurai 3 made it to the west, but now Agarest, and apparently Yakuza 3 is also on its way. What a relief and a great time for fans of Japanese games - it would seem the hard days of importing are over.
Thing is, I subscribe to Dave Halverson’s almighty PLAY magazine, plus I browse GamesTM and EDGE in the UK, and none of these have had any coverage, to my knowledge. Perhaps I wasn’t browsing hard enough in WH Smiths. Metacritic has nothing either. I’ve also heard not a peep online about its localisation. Which is a shame, because it pretty awesome. I’m surprised Halverson has jumped on it, because the boobage content is rather high.
I only found out about it due to Neo magazine, a sort of lacklustre inheritor of Manga Mania's throne as the UK's leading anime magazine. They gave it a half page review using recycled press shots.
Taken from Wikipedia:
The story progresses through various points plotted on a map. By visiting each point, the player has to battle the creatures, complete a quest, visit a town or go through a conversation to advance through the storyline and open up more points. Fighting plays out like a strategic RPG where each character has his/her own set of moves, but by moving each character to an appropriate square, you can chain characters together and pull off combos. The game includes dating sim elements through its "Soul Breed" system which allows the player to create a new character by pursuing a relationship with a female character.
So, a game involving sex, then? The age classification on the UK box says 12, because the content includes: sex and swearing. I can’t imagine what kind of sex gets a game a 12 rating and not an 18-only rating, so it must be only mild themes (like a girl's cream covered face).
What’s fascinating about the UK version is that it was localised by Ghostlight, who were originally thinking of redoing the cover art as being realistic.
Now, I think I speak for everyone when I say that looks ****ing godawful. Possibly the worst art imagineable. Thankfully they kept the original in the end. Ghostlight also pulled an Atlus on us by producing a limited edition version featuring the following:
* Agarest: Generations of War PlayStation®3
* Collectors Edition slipcase
* Collectors Edition inlay
* 48 page art book
* 6 collectable artcards featuring images from the game
* A3 limited edition poster
And the best news? It’s only £44.99 for the special edition, while the standard version is £34.99. That’s a great deal. Considering those filth-eating bastards at Activision have the gall to charge £45 for a basic game, raising the normal RRP for all new titles by a fiver, I think this is a fantastic bargain and Ghostlight should be commended. They should be hailed as beacons of light in an industry ravaged by greed. Activision should also be spat on, considering they tried to sue various magazine publishers in the UK for criticising them, pulled advertising, and basically gagged the entire press association if they tried to speak out against it. Well, Activision, you can kiss my ass if you think you can silence HG101. I’m waiting for your court order, scumbags.
Now for the bad news: Agarest isn’t going to hit the USA until 2010, and furthermore it will be a download-only PSN title. So if you want hard copies, much like you had to with Siren Blood Curse, you’ll need to import it. Let me also say, Blood Curse is amazgine. My PS3 came packed with Little Big Planet, which I didn’t like that much, so I traded my sealed copy in for Blood Curse, and it was 100% worth it.
Even more bad news: Agarest has hit UK retailers in extremely limited quantities. Where I live GameStation were sold out, and Game had only 2 copies. Other stores I visited had absolutely none. None of the staff were even clued up on it, and had to search through draws to find the last copies – but they were quite eager to sell me Uncharted 2 and the rest of this winter’s blockbusters. Man, screw that. And I haven’t even seen the Special Edition anywhere. Further bad news is that I am broke. Totally broke. Broker than a totally broke money-broker in financially troubled times. I also have Disgaea 3 to start (and finish, maybe?), plus Cross Edge to buy. There’s a few too many interesting RPGs out right now.
So, I can’t tell you how it plays. I’ve also seen no mention of it on forums. So it seems like the masses are ignoring this. Meaning expect it to rise in price over time.
EDIT: I've just discovered, you can actually buy the game direct from the publisher, which is kinda cool.
Man... if it wasn’t for the fact I still have an unopened copy of Muramas for the Wii to start, I’d be seriously tempted to sell the white brick and HDD for some cash to lubricate my PS3 library. Yeah, you heard me, I said lubricate.