Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth

Or, in short, “Quercus Alba is an idiot.” Obviously, endgame spoilers follow. There’s nothing wrong with the Ace Attorney Investigations game itself. Just like all the previous games, the last two cases dragged on tremendously, but the bad guy was gotten in the end and there was much rejoicing. This is much better than Apollo Justice and the third PW game, at any rate. Kay >>> Trucy > Maya, and Agent Lang >> Klavier (especially since you get to put paid to him in a most satisfying manner). And of  course Edgeworth = Phoenix (ooh, it’s a real toss-up) >>>>>>>> Apollo, so it’s all good.

But more than any of the other bosses before him, if this last boss had just kept his head down, stood his ground and DENIED EVERYTHING, he would have walked away a free man. There was no reason for him to cooperate with them at all once they’d caught Shih-na, ‘cos he was in plenty of trouble at that point. Deny, deny, deny, man.

Huh? My plant sticks were used as crossbows? Oh, how horrible, who would do such a thing to my poor flowers? Please find the real killer at once!

Huh? Mask Demasque II? It wasn’t me.

Huh? Loading a pushcart with a body? If someone did that, shouldn’t the suspicion be on the Steel Samurai and his staff? Anyway, it wasn’t me.

Huh? Putting the cart in the reservoir, etc, etc, etc? Shih-na and her mystery accomplice must have done that by themselves, I’m just a weak old man. Anyway, it wasn’t me.

Huh? A knife in my bouquet? Why, so it is! Or the handle, anyway. Please have the florist and my staff investigated at once, or maybe the Steel Samurai snuck it in when I wasn’t looking. Anyway, it wasn’t me.

Huh? Me and Manny in the car together? Okay, you’ve got me, I was there. But that doesn’t mean I knew anything about a so-called smuggling ring or the murder of that poor, poor girl. I was just hitching a ride with Manny to go to the doctor, what with my bad back and all. Anyway, it wasn’t me.

Huh? The fake Primidux statue somehow found its way into my office? What would that have to do with me? I have no motive, and you can’t prove I knew the counterfeit plate was inside. Seeing as Manny was the smuggling boss, maybe he or Ambassador Palaeno did it to make Allebast look bad! Anyway, it wasn’t me.

Huh? “Early Summer Rain Jab”? What can I say, I snuck a peek in the dressing room because I’m such a big fan of the Steel Samurai. Big deal.

Huh? My blood on a box of samurai dogs? Well, you can prove it was my blood, but you can’t prove it got on the box while it was in the dressing room, or that it wasn’t planted there. You say you got this from the Pink Princess? I suggest you investigate her and the Samurai one more time, their timing is especially suspicious. Anyway, it wasn’t me.

Basically you guys have got nothing on me except a bunch of wild guesses and random speculation. You can’t detain me because I’m not going to stick around long enough for you to get my diplomatic immunity revoked. So long, suckers!

Oh, and by the way: It wasn’t me!

Summon Night X ~Tears Crown~

I’ve gotten into a bad habit of starting a new game right as I’m about to finish an old one, and then getting into it so much that I forget to finish the previous one. In fact I started the Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth game right before I reached the final boss in this game, but luckily the last dungeon was so pain-free that I ended up finishing it anyway.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Summon Night X: Tears Crown was my very first game in the Summon Night series, as well as the only traditional turn-based RPG in the whole series, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going on. What I expected: just an ordinary RPG to kill the time. What I got: just an ordinary RPG to kill the time, but with a fun battle system and really charming characters, well worth the time I spent playing it.

I don’t know if I want to write a full review of this. I mean, it really was ordinary. The twist at the beginning where the main character [spoiler ahead, stop now] ‘s dad [stop now, really] turns out to be evil and sends the brainwashed Prince Noin to kill the king was unexpected because I hadn’t read a synopsis, but after that everything followed automatically with almost no other surprises. Fight, conquer X place, take it back from the Evil Empire, move on to the next place, fight Empire over macguffin, lose somehow, fight some more…you get the drift. It’s a very linear game with your hand held every step of the way: Go to Tower X, it’s north of the Y plains, after that go to Cave V, it’s north of plains Z, etc. But I wasn’t looking for surprises, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the trip. The trick to enjoying this game is low expectations, after all.

Low expectations should also apply to the music, which is rather bland, and the graphics, which are quite hideous by DS standards. Don’t get me wrong, the characters designs and character portraits are cute and lovely (a little baby-faced, but in a good way), but the actual sprites on the screen are horrible. Muddled, blurry messes with obscured features. They’re almost SNES-level bad, but not quite. It took a lot of getting used to, but as I said, I wasn’t looking for anything special, so I took it in stride.

So, ordinary cliched story, bland movie, bad sprites…what haven’t I mentioned? Oh yeah, the battle system. This wasn’t quite so ordinary. I mean, it’s definitely turn-based, active time battle system where the faster person goes first (this will almost always be the enemy, especially in the case of bosses). Some of your party members can fly, so they’ll be on the top screen, the others will be standing on land on the bottom screen. Same with enemies, though the number of flying bosses is disappointingly small.

What’s the point of all this? Well a lot of attacks target a specific group of enemies/members, so if you have at least one member in the sky, you can survive a lot of things that would wipe out the party. Also the one in the sky can score critical hits on flying enemies, which most land-based party members can’t do. On the minus side, a lot of buffs will hit only those in the buffer’s zone, something to take into account. Overall I liked that the battle system used the whole DS, it made the same-old system feel a little fresh and different.

See that red-yellow-green gauge near the top? It’s a burst-gauge of sorts, and for each bar that fills up, the main character (Dylan or Fara) gets to unleash a co-op attack with one of your party-members. One attack for one bar and an ultimate attack for the full three bars. Maybe this is just me but I think Elnardita’s is the most useful because at just level one it heals all party members for huge amount and raises attack, all without using MP. That’s probably only on Dylan’s path though (you can choose one of two mains). Your choice of fighting characters will probably depend to an extent on what co-ops they offer, so do some research before you start blowing too much money on equipment.

Last thing about the battle system, you see that big yellow creature on the right of the top-screen? That’s a summon beast (duh, it’s called Summon Night), and you get them by…usually by finding them in chests.  You equip them to a character much like you did with GFs in FF8, and they provide all your magic attacks in the form of buffs, debuffs, healing and offensive magic. As you use them, they “level up” and learn new skills. And to power up these skills, you need special red Mana stones which are really (annoyingly) rare and must be used with care because they can’t be reused. A tip: don’t power up any offensive magic or debuffs, pour your stones into buffing and support magic. And be stingy with those stones until the latter half of the game when you get the good summons.

Phew…I said I wasn’t going to review it, but I got carried away. I really did enjoy Summon Night X, much more than I liked DQ9, at least. As proof, I actually finished it. And I did all the “Parliament” sidequests too, as soon as I unlocked them. What’s “parliament”, you ask? It’s a really whack system where your party members propose quests to do, e.g. a little boy’s gone missing, let’s go find him, then you and your party members debate over it, then in the end they vote on whether to do it or not. Sorry, I actually made that sound like fun, but it’s not. Because the debate consists of them throwing questions at you that you have no idea how to answer, and they don’t give you any hints/ideas, and if they vote you down you can’t do that quest for the rest of the game. Hit restart and start all over again. The worst offender is Muumuu ‘cos all he says is “Muu muu!” then you have to pick

-You want to boil the fish, huh?

-You want to fry the fish, huh?

How the hell would I know!? What’s worse, apart from the last few ones, most of them give you crappy items as rewards, stuff you don’t want or need and won’t ever use. Crap! But I did it anyway! And I liked it! Because despite everything, I really did care about the characters and I really did enjoy spending more time with them during those quests. Some of them were really funny, and a few gave really good experience.

Okay, that’s enough for one day. I wanted to talk about the “Brave” part of the battles, or about the great voice-acting, but all you really need to know is that Summon Night X ~Tears Crown~ is a pretty good game, in an ordinary way. It won’t be the best game you ever played, but you won’t regret getting it if it ever comes out in English. I hope they make more in the same vein!

Harvest Moon: Twin Villages

By now everyone must have heard about the latest upcoming Harvest Moon game for the Nintendo DS: Twin Villages. You can pick either the Westernized village of Bluebell or the Japanese-style village of Konohana to farm in, and what you get to do depends on where you choose to live. Bluebell is more about ranching, and you get to raise alpacas and other creatures, and keep an apiary too. Konohana is farming-oriented, so you can grow and process all kinds of crops. The mayors of both towns try to woo you and get you to come to their villages. Long ago the two villages were friends, but now they’re rivals. I bet anything the main objective of the game is to make them friends again through farming/ranching.

Anyway, I found shots and descriptions of the main characters on the official site, so I thought I’d post them here.

The Hero

According to the website he loves natures and has dreamed of living in a place with lots of greenery since he was a child. He moves to the villages in order to fulfill this dream. He’s a curious person who never gives up or backs down from a challenge.

The Heroine

Normally I like to pick the guy in Harvest Moon games, but this time I like the girl’s design and outfit better. I won’t even complain that it’s sexist that the guy is all “bold” and the girl is all “gentle” in this kind of game.

So far only 6 marriage candidates have been introduced, but I’m thinking there’ll be a total of 4 for each hero(ine). I’m all for reducing the number of candidates, so long as there’s an accompanying increase in things to do in the game. None of the HM games have been able to avoid getting boring after a year or two, but maybe HM:TV will be the first. I’m looking forward to it!!

Harvest Moon: Twin Villages comes out February 25th in Japan!

Rune Factory 3: Character introductions

rune factory 3 castSomewhere in my heart I’m not quite ready to let Rune Factory 3 go yet, though I am looking forward to the upcoming “Twin Villages“. So while there’s still lingering affection in my heart for this game, I thought I’d do a quick write-up of the villagers in the game (excluding the marriage candidates) and their likes and dislikes. If I still feel up to it later I’ll do the marriage candidates as well.


Head of the village. Monica and Shia’s grandfather. Dislikes monsters but is generally a good guy.

Birthday: Winter 19
Favorites: Dango (だんご), expensive flowers (高級な花), mago no te (まごの手).
Also likes: Japanese food, grilled fish, sashimi, ordinary flowers.
Hates: Jams, cakes.


Wells’ granddaughter, Shia’s little sister. Cries easily and has a penchant for biting. Dislikes anyone who takes Shia’s attention away from her.

Birthday: Spring 26
Favorites: Expensive flowers (高級な花), rings, arm rings and other accessories.
Also likes: Jewels, knit items, ordinary flowers.
Hates: Fish, sashimi (刺身), grilled fish.


Touna’s guardian/brother figure. Owns the weapon store. A quiet considerate guy who understands more than he usually lets on.

Birthday: Summer 12
Favorites: Curry udon (カレーうどん), gold (金), platina (プラチナ).
Also likes: Metal ore (including junk ore), udon dishes.
Hates: Sashimi (刺身).


Father of Chocola and Rusk. Runs the town restaurant. His cooking is so good travelers come from far away to try it. Likes chocolate so much he named his daughter after it. No, seriously.

Birthday: Fall 10
Favorites: Chocolate cake (チョコレートケーキ), hot chocolate (ホットチョコレート), chocolate cookies (チョコクッキー).
Also likes: Sweet snacks, honey (ハチミツ), chocolate (チョコレート).
Hates: Wine (お酒).


Gluten’s son, Chocola’s younger brother. A notoriously finicky eater who hates vegetables of all kinds but loves sweets.

Birthday: Spring 26
Favorites: Chocolate cake (チョコレートケーキ), hot chocolate (ホットチョコレート), chocolate cookies (チョコクッキー).
Also likes: Sweet snacks, honey (ハチミツ), chocolate (チョコレート).
Hates: Vegetables.


Marion’s wise grandma. A sensible old lady with a wealth of knowledge about magic and medicines. Will revive you if you pass out (for a healthy sum of money).

Birthday: Winter 11
Favorites: Relax tea leaves (リラックス茶の葉), relax tea (リラックスティー).
Also likes: Colored grasses.
Hates: Cheese (チーズ) and cheese dishes.


Karin’s hot but sharp-tongued mother. She’s openly critical of her daughter but really loves her and wants what’s best for her.

Birthday: Spring 8
Favorites: Diamonds (ダイヤモンド), diamond ring (ダイヤモンドの指輪), diamond brooch (ダイヤモンドブローチ).
Also likes: Vegetables, cakes
Hates: Desert fish (砂漠の魚) and desert fish dishes.

Don Charcos

What’s Rune Factory without a fat, food-loving rich guy? Don Charcos is Eliza and Sophia’s dad. Like Sophia he has a habit of saying the opposite of whatever he means.

Birthday: Summer 8
Favorites: Fried sand flounder (焼き砂ヒラメ), boiled rockfish (岩石魚の煮付け).
Also likes: All cooked food.
Hates: Ores.


Don Charcos’s daughter, Sophia’s older sister. A fashion designer with a very unique sense of fashion, Eliza also runs a store that sells home furniture and clothes. She’s got a very nice, mature personality, I really wish she was a marriage candidate.

Birthday: Spring 21
Favorites: High quality fur (上質の毛皮), ball of wool (毛糸玉).
Also likes: Sheep down (モコ綿), pretty spider silk (キレイなクモ糸), fish.
Hates: Mushrooms (きのこ).


Runs the local inn and bathhouse. Smiles a lot but is tougher than she looks.

Birthday: Winter 26
Favorites: All sashimi (刺身).
Also likes: Mushrooms (キノコ).
Hates: Fruits and fruit dishes.


Aion’s overprotective, overloving big brother. Has a sunny, thoughtless personality. Loves fishing and runs the fishing hole with his sister.

Birthday: Summer 3
Favorites: Shining tai (カガヤキタイ), tokimeki tai (トキメキタイ) and all tai (sea bream) dishes.
Also likes: Fish.
Hates: Bread (パン) and bread dishes.


One of the horned people. A bookish, knowledgeable guy who supports Cururufar from behind.

Birthday: Summer 30
Favorites: Premonition of love (恋の予感), gold juice (ゴールドジュース), rune staff (ルーンスタッフ), magic broom (魔法のほうき).
Also likes: All juices and staves.
Hates: Items dropped by monsters.


Hyperactive dwarf who lives in the monster village. Kinda cute, really.

Birthday: Fall 26
Favorites: Tempura udon (天ぷらうどん).
Also likes: All udon dishes.
Hates: Sweet dishes.

Rune Factory 3: Bad points (beware spoilers)

Phew, where do I begin? Because Rune Factory 3 is not a bad game at all, by any means, but there’s all these little and not-so-little things that made me wonder, why do it this way? Why do that? Why didn’t they do this instead? Anyway, let’s get down to the flaws, from major to minor.

1. Story: The story is whack. I don’t want to spoil, but they trotted out the same old same old “I have…amnesia!” story again. It was fun the first time. It was nostalgic the second time. Now it’s just old. But that’s not the worst part, the worst part is that you find out what your past is all about and it’s shallow, nearly-nonexistent and laaaaaame.

Okay fine, I’ll spoil it: [SPOILERS FOLLOW, avert gaze!]

[SPOILERS FOLLOW, avert gaze!]

[SPOILERS FOLLOW, avert gaze!]

See, there’s these monster creatures and they’re at odds with humans. Luckily enough, Mais is half monster so a powerful being wipes out his memory and tosses him into a village to try and make peace. This will somehow make some magical tree bloom and magically save the land from destruction. Gee.

Seems the monsters and the humans had a huge falling out years ago, and, like, nobody remembers what it was about but they’re all still mad anyway. Then Mais shows up and he’s like “Let’s have a party!!” (no, srsly) and then they have a party and everyone’s happy. So anyway that was the boss’s plan and somehow he knew you could do it even without your memories, and whoopee, it all worked out, congratulations! See? I told you it was whack.

2. Transformation: The woolly transformation gimmick…wait, let me explain that. Since you’re half-monster you can turn into a woolly using a magical belt…wait, what kind of sick woman would have a baby with a sheep?! Ewww!? And if you’re half-woolly, why do you need a belt to transform? The whole thing is silly and useless. It was marketed as a cool option where you could get the girls to tell you secret things they wouldn’t tell your human self, etc etc. Puh-lease, we should be so lucky. They just make throwaway comments about what a cute woolly you are, and it plays a role in a few of the (lamer) quests, but it doesn’t add anything to the game. If anything it takes away from it. And the big reveal, when the townsfolk find out the cuddly golden woolly and Mais are one and the same? They’re all like, meh, cool, whatever, so what. Whaaat? That’s it!? I just told you guys my ultimate secret on which the whoooole game hinges! React a little, dammit!

3. Recipes: The system for learning new recipes SUCKS. It suckssssss!!!! First you buy “bread” from a store – it doesn’t fill you up but it’s still called bread. Cooking recipe bread, pharmacy recipe bread, forgery recipe bread, accessory recipe bread. Fine. But after you waste your money on this bread, you’re not guaranteed to learn a recipe. Nope, it’s all about your current level in that skill. Not high enough? Tough cookies, you just spent 2000-5000 on empty air. See you tomorrow.

4. Rune Points: You know how in previous games, after you run out of Rune Points your skills/magic start using up your HP? And take it little by little? This time once you run out of Rune points, the very next move you make takes up HALF your HP. Next move you make, you pass out on the spot. I mean, eventually you learn your lesson and watch your RP like a hawk, but it’s an unreasonable and inconvenient system nonetheless, especially in the beginning before you get the hang of it.

5. Crop system: The soil in your garden has fertility levels. The more you grow something on the same spot, the lower the fertility gets. Lower fertility = greater chance of your crops dying. The theory is that you need to use fertilizers and practice crop rotation to keep optimum fertility. The theory is good. The practice is not. And that practice is, unless you pour buckets of fertilizer on your crops every round, they’re going to be dying left and right. Either you analyze every single square before you plant on it or you make fertilizers by the ton. Either way it’s tedious and unproductive. This is the second-fastest I’ve ever giving up on growing crops in a Harvest Moon game, next to Island of Happiness.

6. The dungeons are really small and simplistic. Maybe if I went back and compared the previous games I’d realize they aren’t so small, but I doubt it. The dungeons are small and boring, the enemy variety is very low (almost all recycled from previous games) and the bosses are all pushovers, including the final one. Get in, do whatever quests and errands it takes to get the boss to appear, fight the boss, move to next dungeon. Rinse, repeat. Oh, and try to stay awak….z…zzzz…

So there you have it, the minor and not so minor things that made Rune Factory 3 a bit of a disappointment for me. I think what bothered me most of all was the weakness of the story though. Everything else I could live with, but when you battle, forge and woo your way through a game for a silly denouement – lol you were carrying out my plan all along, enjoy the lack of a proper backstory or afterstory – I can’t help being a leeetle bit peeved. Maybe they rushed this one out a little too fast. Take your time with the next one, Marvelous, and remember: an RPG is nothing without a good story.

Peace out.