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Level-Up Fridays is back again and has reached level 06. There hasn’t been to much news this week but we did have a few tasty morsels so lets get right into it.

First and possibly biggest news is that Mass Effect 2 has a release date. That date is January 26 in the US and January 29 in Europe. Now I will admit(And I’m sure I will receive backlash for this) I am not what you would call a Bioware fan. Most of their games under whelmed me and I was never a Star Wars fan so needless to say I didn’t care for KOTOR and I don’t care about the upcoming MMO(Which I think is being a bit over hyped by the way). Seeing this as the case I was fully expecting to dislike Mass Effect however I was surprised to find out that I absolutely loved the game. I thought the universe that was created was infinitely more interesting then that of Star Wars and the depth of character in the game as well had me hooked. So needless to say I am very excited about Mass Effect 2 and it looks like we won’t have to wait long for the game.

Another great announcement has come out of Japan and that is the confirmation of Ar Tonelico  3 coming exclusively to PS3 early next year.  The same great musical themed game play will return again with players being able to create their own songs this time around. The game will focus around a new cast of characters named Aoto, Saki and Finnelle. The game is set for a January 28 release however no US release date has yet been released.

Ar tonelico 3

Some on the interwebs are debating if NIS will bring the game to the US or not after the backlash they received over Ar Tonelico 2. NIS removed quite abit of voice over from Ar Tonelico 2 and the game was also somewhat buggy according to various fans. Seeing as this is the case many think NIS may pass altogether on bringing the game stateside however I think that’s unlikely considering the popularity of the series.

The Valkyria Chronicles 2 Official website has received a sizeable update showcasing quite a bit of new game play and even introducing new characters as well. Juliana Eberhart seems to be the class rep and will most likely be the rival of the main character. Various other members of class G have also been introduced. You can check out the official website Here however it’s all is in Japanese so keep that in mind.

Juliana Eberhart of Valkyria Chronicles 2

Other new videos seem to show a new class known as the Shield Soldier. A Shield Soldier seems to use a shield(Not of the riot variety as it seems this shield is a bit smaller) To get closer to the enemy while taking little to no damage and then dealing a critical melee strike with a large hammer. The video showcasing the class is impressive and it will certainly add a bit more depth to the game having more new classes to mess around with.

Now this week I’m going to do something a bit different. Everyone out there has games they would like to see remade or continued in some form. Naturally I do as well so I thought I would take this opportunity to list my top 5 games I would like to see remade or get a sequel.

Breath of Fire III cover

5) Breath of Fire series. Yes everyone out there knows of the this classic Capcom RPG series. Personally Breath of Fire III for the PS1 was my favorite game in the series. The last game in the series Dragon Quarter was a bit of a let down and it seems as if recently Capcom has stated they have no plans at this time to revisit the series which is quite a blow to the hearts of fans, Personally I would be happy with a next gen upgrade of Breath of Fire III adding new graphics and perhaps some voice acting but it seems as if at this point that will never happen.

Guardian Heroes

4) Guardian Hero’s. This little known gem of the Sega Saturn was a RPG beat em up mash up and it was also one of the best games the console ever produced. Developed by Treasure the game was your typical Beat em up however it had a somewhat deep RPG leveling system under the hood. Battles were fought on a plain that contained a Foreground, Middleground and Background and the player and enemies could jump between the 3 at will. The combat was incredibly deep with countless combo’s, special moves and magic each character could use. The game as well featured a story with many different endings. Once you were all done with the single player game you could enter the arena and fight friends using ANY CHARACTER from the game. Yes bosses, little monsters and monsters that took up nearly the entire screen were playable in arena mode. It was quite the game for it’s time.

I think that if Treasure was to redo the graphics with beautiful Blazblue quality sprites and add some new music and voice over and throw in some online co-op and arena battles they would have a smash hit on their hands.

Final Fantasy VIII

3) Final Fantasy VII and VIII. Yeah everyone out their wants a Final Fantasy VII remake and we all know what it would take to make it great and it’s probably going to happen sooner or later so instead of talking about that I’m gonna take about a Final Fantasy VIII remake. I feel Final Fantasy VIII is somewhat underrated in that it never seems to get that much fan appreciation. However I enjoyed VIII just as much as VII. I think with a upgrade to the Crystal Tools engine and some added Voice over the game could be quiet epic. After all Final Fantasy VIII did start the whole cinematic feel the Final Fantasy series is now known for so I think it deserves the upgrade. Will it happen? Well SE has pretty much remade most of the earlier Final Fantasy games so if they keep that trend up it make get it’s chance at some point. One can only hope.

Parasite Eve

2)Parasite Eve. Yes I know a lot of you will say “But we are getting Parasite Eve The 3rd Birthday soon” While that is indeed true I can’t help but want a new Parasite Eve game on PS3 with incredible graphics and more action focused game play. With the power of the PS3 behind Parasite Eve it would be genuinely creepy and have some of those stomach turning transformation scenes we all remember from the original games in the series. Who knows maybe if the 3rd Birthday does well this will happen. But at this point it’s hard to say.

Xenosaga logo

1) Xenosaga. Now a lot of you out there are probably confused at this pick. However I have never hid the fact that I am a Xenosaga fanboy through and through. Xenosaga was one of the most incredible series the PS2 ever saw however the series was plagued by creative issues in each game and these issues ultimately ended the Saga early(The series was supposed to be 6 games however it was cut short to 3 because of the creative difference within the development team). Each game sported a different look and art style which confused a lot of players. The first game in the series was an incredibly anime influenced look while the second game tried to make everyone look way to realistic, the third game finally found the perfect middle ground between the two and is ultimately the best looking of the 3(However they are all beautiful and to this day hold up quite nicely)

Xenosaga Episode 3 also Sprach Zarathustra

In addition to the graphics issues the localization for the games was also a bit of a oddity as the voice cast was completely changed for the second game but then for the most part reverted to the original for the third game. A lot of people speculate that with the more realistic look the second game had that Bandai wanted to change to a sound that was more fitting of the look. However after backlash from the fans the original cast was brought back for the third game.

Xenosaga 1 - Shion

The battle systems as well were different in each game as well as other various changes to how character leveled up and learned abilities and obtained armor. It really seems as if the dev team just could never settle of a single concept and let it be and the games suffered in the end.

Xenosaga Episode II Cover

Despite all this the games were still incredible and were among the best RPG’s around when they released. It is for that reason I would like to see a remastered version if you will that would combine all 3 games into one single massive adventure and would correct the issues the original games faced. Bring back the entire original voice cast and develop a new graphics engine that will take inspiration from the third game and most importantly(in my opinion anyway) Have Yuki Kaijura redo the entire soundtrack. Doing this would allow the fans to experience the story the closest way to that of which it was intended(obviously it would not be entirely as intended as the series was cut short). Perhaps it would do well enough to warrant the last 3 games in the series to get made.

Well those are my picks. Let me know what you think in the comments section. Tell me your top five. That’s it for Level Up this week. Until next time.