What is public opinion of Level-5?

#1 Posted by BisonHero (6256 posts) -

The 8-4 Play podcast keeps going on about how Level-5's rep is pretty bad in Japan as of late (and Patrick has said this as well, though I get the sense he is just parroting the opinion of the 8-4 guys). Is this the case? Level-5 seems like a small company for people to be disgruntled with. Is it all the annual Prof Layton games that people are getting tired of? Otherwise, all they do is those Inazuma Eleven games and White Knight Chronicles. And they made Ni no Kuni, which seems alright. So what am I missing?

#2 Posted by bushpusherr (762 posts) -

I remember liking the Dark Cloud games quite a bit when I first got my PlayStation 2. Haven't played anything of theirs since then.

#3 Posted by Morningstar (2145 posts) -

I quite like them. Don't know about Japan though.

#4 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3765 posts) -

@bushpusherr said:

I remember liking the Dark Cloud games quite a bit when I first got my PlayStation 2. Haven't played anything of theirs since then.

This is my situation as well.

Ni No Kuni looks interesting now but since then I've had no experience with them.

#5 Posted by kurtbro900 (117 posts) -

Never hear anything about them really. I love the Layton games, best series on the DS.

#6 Posted by MildMolasses (3214 posts) -

Looking over the list of games they published, I wonder if the Japanese audience has developed a fatigue for their games. It looks like they have quite a few 3DS and Vita games out

#7 Posted by Bishna (334 posts) -

I think they were specifically referring to Level-5's recent RPG releases. Even more specifically, the White Knight Chronicles games.

#8 Posted by TruthTellah (8578 posts) -

I really dig them. Ni no Kuni has definitely cemented them as being quite the studio.

#9 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (3062 posts) -

They've made really good jrpgs and are probably more well known for the Layton and Dragon Quest series. Rogue Galaxy is still one of my all time favorite ps2 games and are up there with square as one of the best at the moment. Think if anybody can break the mold of the jrpg stigma it could be them.

#10 Posted by MiniPato (2721 posts) -

They had an amazing catalog of games in the PS2 era. White Knight Chronicles was incredibly disappointing for me. And the Layton games don't really do anything for me.

Have no idea about Ni No Kuni. I think it failed in Japan cause it was crazy overpriced. Maybe they are just tired of all the portable games that Level 5 puts out. Cause I sure as heck don't care about them either.

I haven't played Ni No Kuni yet, so maybe they can win me back. I really want to like Level 5 for the games they made for the PS2, but nothing ever quite grabbed me like Dark Cloud 2 and Dragon Quest 8.

#11 Posted by evanbower (1210 posts) -

@BisonHero said:

The 8-4 Play podcast keeps going on about how Level-5's rep is pretty bad in Japan as of late (and Patrick has said this as well, though I get the sense he is just parroting the opinion of the 8-4 guys). Is this the case? Level-5 seems like a small company for people to be disgruntled with. Is it all the annual Prof Layton games that people are getting tired of? Otherwise, all they do is those Inazuma Eleven games and White Knight Chronicles. And they made Ni no Kuni, which seems alright. So what am I missing?

They aren't really so small in Japan though.. they publish their own games/are a pretty big deal. The combo of White Knight and the DS Ni No Kuni being huge disappointments took a toll on the company from what I've heard. It's also kind of strange cause in North America we think of the pretty great dialogue in Level-5 games, but apparently those are just great localizations and the original Japanese dialogue is pretty flat.

#12 Posted by Dallas_Raines (2141 posts) -

Dark Cloud 2 is one of my favorite games and I desperately want it to be released as a PS2 Classic.

#13 Posted by Slag (4090 posts) -

Dunno about lately, but I love their stuff last gen.

Dragon Quest Viii is one the greatest JRPGs I've ever played.

If their rep is hurt because of one mediocre series (white knight) that seems terribly unfair.

Why did Ni No Kuni not do well?

If so that's very sad to hear.

Online
#14 Posted by BisonHero (6256 posts) -
@evanbower

@BisonHero said:

The 8-4 Play podcast keeps going on about how Level-5's rep is pretty bad in Japan as of late (and Patrick has said this as well, though I get the sense he is just parroting the opinion of the 8-4 guys). Is this the case? Level-5 seems like a small company for people to be disgruntled with. Is it all the annual Prof Layton games that people are getting tired of? Otherwise, all they do is those Inazuma Eleven games and White Knight Chronicles. And they made Ni no Kuni, which seems alright. So what am I missing?

They aren't really so small in Japan though.. they publish their own games/are a pretty big deal. The combo of White Knight and the DS Ni No Kuni being huge disappointments took a toll on the company from what I've heard. It's also kind of strange cause in North America we think of the pretty great dialogue in Level-5 games, but apparently those are just great localizations and the original Japanese dialogue is pretty flat.

Maybe that's it. Because yeah, the English localization of Professor Layton is fantastic. He's the most charming gentleman ever.
#15 Posted by Demoskinos (14596 posts) -

So speaking of Level-5 would WKC 1&2 be worth going back to? Never did play them.

#16 Posted by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

So speaking of Level-5 would WKC 1&2 be worth going back to? Never did play them.

The first one was ok, never played the second one.

#17 Edited by Jrinswand (1696 posts) -

I love Level-5 (they made Jeanne D'Arc, so they get a free pass on most anything as far as I'm concerned), but they've also made some pretty mediocre games.
 
Edit: Also, 8-4's full of crap, which makes Patrick full of crap by extension.

Online
#18 Posted by Epidehl (285 posts) -

@Demoskinos: I enjoyed them enough. It's worth noting that if you want to play them, if you buy 2, you get a slightly updated (and better playing) version of 1 along with it. I played 1 kind of a lot and really liked it, then played a bit of 2 and just kind of stopped. They're pretty alright single-player games, if you like the kind of single-player MMO style RPGs like Final Fantasy XII. There's a lot of online multiplayer stuff that you kind of HAVE to do to get a lot of items/equipment and whatnot though, and I'm not sure how active the game would be these days.

I'm really mixed on how I feel about Level-5. I loved Dark Cloud 1 & 2 (though 1 does NOT hold up very well), Rouge Galaxy, and have probably a higher opinion than most of WKC. Never played Professor Layton, actively disliked Dragon Quest VIII in my time with it, and Ni No Kuni really doesn't do anything for me so I haven't gotten that.

#19 Posted by Nottle (1912 posts) -

@evanbower said:

@BisonHero said:

The 8-4 Play podcast keeps going on about how Level-5's rep is pretty bad in Japan as of late (and Patrick has said this as well, though I get the sense he is just parroting the opinion of the 8-4 guys). Is this the case? Level-5 seems like a small company for people to be disgruntled with. Is it all the annual Prof Layton games that people are getting tired of? Otherwise, all they do is those Inazuma Eleven games and White Knight Chronicles. And they made Ni no Kuni, which seems alright. So what am I missing?

They aren't really so small in Japan though.. they publish their own games/are a pretty big deal. The combo of White Knight and the DS Ni No Kuni being huge disappointments took a toll on the company from what I've heard. It's also kind of strange cause in North America we think of the pretty great dialogue in Level-5 games, but apparently those are just great localizations and the original Japanese dialogue is pretty flat.

If that's true then it is hilarious to hear English speakers say that they prefer the subs over the english dub.

#20 Posted by BisonHero (6256 posts) -
@Jrinswand
I love Level-5 (they made Jeanne D'Arc, so they get a free pass on most anything as far as I'm concerned), but they've also made some pretty mediocre games.
 
Edit: Also, 8-4's full of crap, which makes Patrick full of crap by extension.
This is also a valid point. On the Bombcast, Vinny can like Castlevania while everyone else thought it was lame, and they have a calm discussion about it. On 8-4 Play, any disagreement spirals into an argument (involving Mark MacDonald).
#21 Edited by dungbootle (2457 posts) -

@Nottle said:

@evanbower said:

@BisonHero said:

The 8-4 Play podcast keeps going on about how Level-5's rep is pretty bad in Japan as of late (and Patrick has said this as well, though I get the sense he is just parroting the opinion of the 8-4 guys). Is this the case? Level-5 seems like a small company for people to be disgruntled with. Is it all the annual Prof Layton games that people are getting tired of? Otherwise, all they do is those Inazuma Eleven games and White Knight Chronicles. And they made Ni no Kuni, which seems alright. So what am I missing?

They aren't really so small in Japan though.. they publish their own games/are a pretty big deal. The combo of White Knight and the DS Ni No Kuni being huge disappointments took a toll on the company from what I've heard. It's also kind of strange cause in North America we think of the pretty great dialogue in Level-5 games, but apparently those are just great localizations and the original Japanese dialogue is pretty flat.

If that's true then it is hilarious to hear English speakers say that they prefer the subs over the english dub.

Anime and stuff, it's whatever. But the argument makes the least amount of sense in the context of games, because the English subtitles always follow the localization script, not the original Japanese script.

If people talk about wanting the "authentic experience" when it comes to Japanese games, they should learn Japanese.

Anyway speaking on-topic, I can't imagine Level-5 is seriously hated or something, they can be mediocre but they've never made anything shitty. As far as their current games, Inazuma is well-liked as far as I know. They also made Dragon Quest Fucking 8 but that was awhile ago.

#22 Edited by Raven10 (1743 posts) -

They make a ton of games in Japan. Inazuma Eleven alone gets 3+ games a year and Professor Layton gets at least one. Then they have their Little Battlers series and all their one off stuff. They put out a ton of games but a fair number of them are not very high quality. Some are great, but WKC was a big disappointment and Inazuma Eleven and Professor Layton have been pretty stagnant. I could see the Japanese feeling about Inazuma Eleven like we feel about Call of Duty. Started out as a great series but yearly releases have killed innovation and ruined the series for many fans. Combine that with the poor reception of the DS Ni No Kuni and you can see where the issues arise. Up to the release of the first Professor Layton the studio could do no wrong. Dark Cloud 1 and 2, Dragon Quest 8, Rogue Galaxy, and Jeanne D'Arc were all amazing well received games. But at that point Level 5 was a one team studio. Every game was directed by the company's founder. Then they started adding new teams until now they make at least a half dozen games at a time. As such certain games don't do as well as others as the top teams only work on some of the games.

It's interesting because Level 5 is one of the few companies in Japan in any industry that has seen such major expansion in the past five years. Almost every company in that country was falling apart while Level 5 expanded and eventually opened offices around the world. They are the biggest success story in Japanese gaming this generation. A lot of Japanese studios talk about making games with Western appeal but Level 5 proves that if you make a great game it will have universal appeal. The question is, will they be able to continue putting out enough quality games to offset the disappointment surrounding their yearly releases and some poorly received handheld games?

EDIT: Also there have been many complaints about the stories in their games. Simply put, they usually suck. Professor Layton is an exception and Ni No Kuni I assume only has a good story because Studio Ghibli wrote it.

#23 Edited by dungbootle (2457 posts) -

@Raven10: Ghibli didn't write it, it was Akihiro Hino, Level-5's usual guy.

#24 Posted by Petiew (1334 posts) -
@Nottle said:

If that's true then it is hilarious to hear English speakers say that they prefer the subs over the english dub.

Why? I think it's perfectly fine to prefer the sound of one set of voices to another. The written dialogue in games will still be the translated and localised script, you're just setting different voices to it.
 
I loved DQ8, but am unfamiliar with the majority of Level 5's other games.
#25 Posted by Gaff (1668 posts) -

@BisonHero said:

The 8-4 Play podcast keeps going on about how Level-5's rep is pretty bad in Japan as of late (and Patrick has said this as well, though I get the sense he is just parroting the opinion of the 8-4 guys). Is this the case? Level-5 seems like a small company for people to be disgruntled with. Is it all the annual Prof Layton games that people are getting tired of? Otherwise, all they do is those Inazuma Eleven games and White Knight Chronicles. And they made Ni no Kuni, which seems alright. So what am I missing?

I think the problem is not being in Japan and seeing the entire catalogue they put out in Japan, nor their apparent growth is one factor.

Online
#26 Posted by Raven10 (1743 posts) -

@dungbootle: I'm sure Ghibli was involved in writing the story. Maybe not the actual lines of dialogue but I can't imagine the concept not being devised by both Hino and Ghibli. Also, Hino also writes Professor Layton, but he doesn't write Inazuma Eleven, White Knight Chronicles or Little Battlers. He also only directed the first Inazuma Eleven and the first White Knight Chronicles. Mostly he directs the Professor Layton games. I think those games he directly works on are usually a lot more successful than the games he doesn't work on from a quality standpoint. I'll be interested to see where the company goes from here. They released like 10 games last year that they had been working on for several years. I am curious to see what they have planned for their big event this year. Last year was the first year in a while they didn't announce like 5 new games at it. Their upcoming lineup actually seems pretty slim right now. Plenty of stuff still to be localized in the west, but in Japan they've pretty much finished everything they had announced so far.

#27 Posted by Nottle (1912 posts) -

@Petiew said:

@Nottle said:

If that's true then it is hilarious to hear English speakers say that they prefer the subs over the english dub.

Why? I think it's perfectly fine to prefer the sound of one set of voices to another. The written dialogue in games will still be the translated and localised script, you're just setting different voices to it. I loved DQ8, but am unfamiliar with the majority of Level 5's other games.

It's funny because people say the Japanese is ALWAYS acted better but, if you don't speak Japanese how can you tell?

#28 Posted by MikkaQ (10270 posts) -

It's probably cause they release so much more in Japan than they do here, and they're getting tired of it, especially Layton.

#29 Edited by jediknight00719 (139 posts) -

you say its a small company, but they sound like a big company everytime i read about them. They have a football stadium named after them. How many game company can say that in the US

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level-5_Stadium

#30 Posted by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@Nottle said:

@Petiew said:

@Nottle said:

If that's true then it is hilarious to hear English speakers say that they prefer the subs over the english dub.

Why? I think it's perfectly fine to prefer the sound of one set of voices to another. The written dialogue in games will still be the translated and localised script, you're just setting different voices to it. I loved DQ8, but am unfamiliar with the majority of Level 5's other games.

It's funny because people say the Japanese is ALWAYS acted better but, if you don't speak Japanese how can you tell?

It has more to do with familiarity than anything else. Good voice acting or bad, the two languages have different intonations and such on a basic level, differences that would create preferences. This is particularly so for the crowd that imports games or watches subs of Japanese shows before an English localization appears, creating a sense of what the "proper" voice of the characters should be.

Back to the argument of quality though, I will say Japanese voice actors have always, and probably will always have a better screaming voice than western VAs. My long history with super robot anime is pretty much evidence for such.

#31 Posted by TrafalgarLaw (1063 posts) -

They made Dark Cloud 2 (Dark Chronicle). They get a get a free pass on anything too as far as I'm concerned. But I might rescind that if they not make a se uel to Rogue Galaxy or Dark Cloud 2...

Dark Cloud 3...keep the dream alive!

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