That's something that can only be done by staff and may require some back end tinkering, from what I remember hearing a while back. I do agree that we should have more release regions, though. Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, and mainland China are all at the top of that wishlist for me since there are far too many games exclusive to those regions at this point slipping through the cracks on the wiki because of existing limitations. I'd love to add a bunch of PC and Famicom ones to the database, but release information would otherwise be rendered blank and have to be added manually to the main wiki page or something, which is a bad workaround for something that should be done at a system level.
Pepsiman's forum posts
I had forgotten that there was a demo out for this game, so I ended up downloading the Japanese version while perusing through the store. Since neither demo thread really has much in the way of posts, I'll just dump my impressions here since this is the more recent one:
- Very fun and charming plot premise backed up by solid writing and even better voice acting. I have no idea whether the non-Japanese versions of the demo got dubs or not, but at least in the one I played, it's clear all of the voice actors had fun being boisterous and bringing a fairy tale sort of premise to life. I'm especially fond of the girl that shows up about midway through the demo. She has some great spunk to her. Hopefully if they do dub the localized versions of the game that they'll get similarly exaggerated performances from all the voice actors; their color commentary during the demo is really delightful to listen to.
- Really good controls. It took me a little while to catch onto a good beat for the scissor cutting stuff, but it's neat how you get to break some fundamental platformer laws of physics with the way it's handled. It's really satisfying to latch onto something you can cut and then just slide through the air for a while.
- Wonderfully eye-catching aesthetic style backed up by some really great lighting. They both do a really good job of selling you on that basic idea that you're watching a play unfold. Very much so reminiscent of Japanese theater and other schools of storytelling like kamishibai in all the right ways.
- Kind of overly short for a demo considering the file size, but they manage to convey so much information about the game and what it's trying to accomplish that I'm still really excited for the full product. I should be pinching my pennies right now, but I'm definitely contemplating preordering it.
All in all, it's the sort of game I'd expect SCE Japan Studio to put out and it's looking like their relatively sparse output this generation will otherwise potentially end on a high note. Definitely color me interested to see and play more.
@mcghee: Thanks for the kind words! Linguistic stuff is always somewhat hard for me to pare down in general terms for a site like this, so it's nice to be told that I did an okay job with it here. Korean as a language continues to fascinate me in part because of that latent accessibility hangul has. That and my desire to better converse with my Korean friends in their native language has me hoping I'll start putting some serious effort into learning it in the relatively near future, possibly by picking up textbooks that teach it in Japanese so that side of me remains sharp as well.
I'm not particularly surprised that there are elements of Korean society attempting to limit the use of English loan words. Japanese has had movements like that off and on over the years, due in part to a lot of western words just being used as substitutes for Japanese ones that already existed with the same meaning, but they usually never gain much in the way of traction. Like I wrote in the essay, I definitely get the rationale for trying to maintain linguistic purity from a cultural identity standpoint, but especially for a language like Korean, so many of the native words were already imported from places like China that it can be hard to know where that line would be drawn and would exactly would be left after all the excising was done. For Korea's case, I'm curious if that backlash is rooted to some extent in that historical legacy of the country being trampled on by major imperial powers so regularly in the past few centuries, perhaps worried about more foreign influences through softer means than conventional military force. I guess because of my education and language background, people might label me as something of a Japanologist, but I certainly remain deeply empathetic about the ordeals the Korean people have had to endure to get to where they are today.
You're really good about catching my work usually without me ever even expecting it to get wide exposure, but I put a lot of effort into this essay on Christine Love's new game, Hate Plus, so for once, I'm just gonna make sure you have a record of it existing over here. Carry on, ZombiePastry!
I want to believe the "slit his mama's throat" line is Atlus' localization team being cute. I'm just glad you didn't abandon Tanaka to die at the top of Tartarus after the Nyx fight. You waited just long enough.
I've played a good chunk of Persona 3 Portable in Japanese and while I can't recall ever bumping into that line specifically, I will say from playing enough Atlus games in both English and Japanese that you'd be surprised how often parts of those translations actually don't stray too far from the original writing, despite how much they go out of their way to not make the wording consistent 1:1. Persona 4 Golden, for instance, features a very prominent fsteak reference. That's a term you'd only expect the English fandom to know because of hiimdaisy's comics, right? But the delightfully messed up thing is that the Japanese version actually more or less makes that exact same joke. Same context, same ending, more or less same everything. It's a joke that's originally a play on Japanese phonics, but it weirdly works out in such a way that the Japanese literally also has the term "fsteak" in it.
At the very least, I'll say that while English and Japanese are very dissimilar in terms of how grammar and vocabulary are handled, in terms of actual idiomatic expressions, it's actually impressive how many direct analogues each language has to the other. I've certainly had instances where I've written translations that are surprisingly straightforward despite otherwise seemingly using turns of phrase and intonations you'd expect to find in English.
@zeik: I'll admit to having never completely finished Milla's route because marathoning a game like that for 50 hours over a few days for a review kind of sapped my motivation as much as I otherwise liked the game, but I suppose that would be a plausible approach to take. The flip-side for Milla's side being so lacking in the beginning is that it's also very brief compared to Jude's route; you'll be out of that opening area and starting to explore the rest of the world in like an hour, hour and a half tops, versus the two to four that Jude tends to take. At that point, from what I remember, the storylines don't diverge again for quite some time, so you wouldn't be playing catch up with Milla for too long before you'd move on to new narrative content. The game's combat doesn't restrict who you actually play as in either route, so on that end, I don't think the choice is a big deal either way, but yeah.
For the record, when I said in my review that Milla was a poor choice for a first run, it was more than just because of what I felt was problematic world-building. I feel like Milla's introduction actually did an ironically poorer job of contextualizing her initial motivations compared to the Jude route and ultimately that extends to his motivations as well for her story in those openings segments. I haven't really played the game since I reviewed it last year, but if memory serves me, her intro basically goes from her dramatically realizing something is wrong in the game's version of The Schwartz to her suddenly making the initial break-in where she meets with Jude. The same cutscene is used for that moment in both storylines despite only one of them providing what I feel is adequate enough information ahead of time to first-timers as to what's actually unfolding. Milla has a handful of moments that are exclusive to her route that attempt to establish her character before that event, but otherwise I still feel like the backstory stuff that Jude's introduction has actually provides a better context for why she's doing the things she's up to in those opening hours. Bocam is probably right in that in terms of just understanding basic stuff like how spirits work you're not missing out on that much if you're already familiar with how they operate in other Tales games, but I recall Jude's route being the only one that actually gives the story enough breathing room to actually contextualize that knowledge relative to Milla's character and specifically establish what makes her so important in that world.
Like the OP, I was expecting Milla's story to start off similarly to Jude's in that she would have some breathing time to just be playable on her own for a while before hooking up with him; the Japanese marketing certainly liked to imply their narratives are more unique, but that's definitely not what I found. Jude's story was still what I played through first, so I was lucky enough to not actually experience that sensation of being lost in those initial hours, but since I started her route right after I cleared Jude's, the structure of his route was still fresh in my mind and it just struck me how flagrantly imbalanced the amount and depth of the content was for the initial segments in Milla's route. I don't think it's impossible to get up to speed on the nature of the world and whatnot if you start with Milla first even if you haven't played other Tales games, but I just think that too many specifics are left out regardless of the similarities to other Tales entries for it to feel like the two are on otherwise even footing. The fact that Namco essentially deleted basic plot details you can only now find in Jude's route makes me suspect that Milla's story was originally designed to be a new game plus type of reward rather than something players should be able to access from the get-go, but I have no actual evidence to back that suspicion up.
The most important thing obviously is that the actual game-playing part of Milla's story is still as excellent as Jude's stuff since so much of the content is otherwise the same. I just think those opening hours leave a lot to be desired as a first run through that story.
What a beautifully dumb way to run that site when nothing serious is going on. I finally signed up for it because of this thread and now I'm weirdly invested in these mostly dumb and not at all balanced AI matches. The fact that you're also not really punished for bottoming out and can effectively spam your $10 minimum balance in the hopes of cashing in big also probably doesn't hurt, though. I also feel like it's taught me a few life lessons like:
- Don't bet on DBZ characters.
- Except sometimes you still should.
- No two Kens are alike.
- All of the screen real estate in the world won't mean the giant characters will win if they don't have AI that actually tells them to hit stuff.
- The MUGEN community has still hilariously not worked out consistent proportion standards for character sprites after all these years.
@joshwent: Yeah, it's one of the consequences of our patent systems not being up to date with contemporary software development ethics. To my knowledge, video games specifically tend to occupy a weird legal hole by virtue of being both like games with underlying systems and mechanics "invented" by humans, but confined to relatively intangible mediums aside from a raw data receptacle most of the time like a cart or a disc, which causes a lot of legal debate about the validity of their patent applications when it's not actual console or portable hardware. As a result, the games that still manage to actually get specific mechanics and development techniques patented are that much more egregious. For traditional board games, a patent as we understand it now makes more sense since the system is intrinsically biased towards protecting ownership rights of physical devices, but video games have yet to really establish a legal precedence that formally allows the free flow of information. On some level, the ability for individual games to iterate and resemble one another without consequence a lot of the time seems to amount to little more than a quiet gentlemen's agreement borne out of software engineering ethos.
It's hard to say one way or another for certain as an outsider to development whether stuff like the challenge tower in MK9 exists specifically because of weird patent logistics, but it's certainly not a bad side effect to have either way. Namco's patent seems to deal in both a specific style of execution and presentation in its tutorials, so the way to go may very well be a sort of semantic battle where other games achieve similar levels of in-depth training modes under a different contextual guise so that legal types can confidently say that Namco's legal rights aren't being infringed.
If you read the rest of the article, it's worth noting that Namco seems to be the company that's by far the most keen on this sort of legal tactic to protect the integrity of its intellectual properties. Although the piece brings up a lot of other good gameplay examples that have mucked it up for other developers, they're also the ones that own a patent for being able to play games or minigames during load screens. They mostly use it let you play emulated versions of their arcade work while waiting for something else to finish loading, but it's one of the reasons why relatively few games today still don't feature much interactivity during load screens.
So really, the takeaway from all of this is that Namco is just kind of insane, I suppose.
@jedge: Nice breakdown buddy. This is a great idea!
I've always been as baffled by fighters as I have been interested in them, so I've never spent the time to really get under the hood. Started playing MK9 on the PC a few weeks ago, and I think it's great for beginners like me. I thought the tutorial itself was a bit lacking, but the challenge tower stuff is super fun and also teaches a lot of important concepts that the tut doesn't even cover, in the most ridiculous way possible of course.
Still, kind of weird that this is even a problem in 2013. Why do you think fighters do such a shitty job at explaining themselves?
Part of the issue, believe it or not, is actually a bit legal in nature. Namco actually patented some of the basic ideas behind a hypothetically good tutorial that you think would otherwise be a no-brainer to include, so it can be difficult for developers to pioneer in that particular arena when they can't even necessarily legally include the basic stuff that would improve them. Some games have managed to circumvent different aspects of the patents over the years, but there are certain steps that are otherwise a risk to take when facing the prospects of a potential legal showdown with Namco's lawyers. Gamespot posted an article on the matter here, if you're curious. Obviously patents aren't the only thing holding back fighting game tutorials, but they're a bigger threat than many perceive.