Saturday, February 23, 2008

Week #2 - All About Soma Bringer

Okay I'm a little lazy this week, so I'll be pasting something which I've actually been writing for an official thread on NeoGAF. It's not going up until next week, so I figured I'll share it here first.

This has been a pretty interesting week - Kosovo finally gained independance, Castro stepped down, and Musharaff's party suffered crushing defeat at the elections. Oh and Hellsing IV was released. Okay so it's not as important as the other things... or is it? :-)

Anyway this week I'll be posting pretty much all there is to know about Soma Bringer before the big release date this coming week. I personally can't wait, and I hope it's as good as Sekaiju no Meikyuu (Etrian Odyssey), since that was the last game I looked forward to this much. Enjoy!


Soma Bringer


Title: Soma Bringer
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Monolithsoft
Publisher: Nintendo of Japan
Official Site: Nintendo's Soma Bringer Site
No. of Players: 1-3 players over ad-hoc
Price: 4800yen
Buy it now!

The Story

In a world where the a magical energy source known as Soma drives the technology and daily lives of all its inhabitants, there lies a huge continent named Barnea. In recent years, the natural balance of Soma has been disrupted by the arrival of mysterious beings called Visitors. To investigate these occurances, Secundadeians - the organization that regulates Soma in the world, creates a military division to deal with these Visitors - the Pharzuph. The story follows the seven members of the 7th Division of the Pharzuph. What they discover on one of their missions will determine the fate of the world...


The Characters


Welt - The newest member of the 7th Divison. He was selected for the elite combat unit that is the 7th Division because of his enthusiasm. He is also affectionate and has a strong sense of responsibility.


Idea - A mysterious girl under the protection of the 7th Division. She was found in a large pod, with no memories of her past other than her own name.


Einsatz - The commandering officer of the 7th Division, with the rank of captain. He has a calm demeanor, and is flexible leader that isn't bound by rules and regulations. He is extremely popular with his subordinates.


Jadis - The vice-commander of the 7th Division. His personality is a complete opposite of his large physique, and he's always made fun of by his subordinates. But when it comes to the crunch, he's always there as the superior officer.


Millers - Her speciality is martial arts, and is an accomodating person who thinks of her companions. She's always looking out for Welt as he's a new member.


Cadenza - He is calm and gentle, but is also very alert. He's protective of Welt and Idea, while always playing mediator when Millers and Forte argue.


Granada - She's the silent type who doesn't share her feelings openly. Seen as a possible candidate for a commander role. She also has an knack for orgami.


Forte - She has a cheerful personality and is generally the mood maker of the team. She has a natural connection with the flow of Soma energy, and is also in charge of the team's equipment. Whenever she's with Millers, they always find a way to start up an argument.


The Gameplay

Selecting a Character:

There are 7 character initially that you can choose from at the start. The character you pick will be the one you are controlling and playing as in the entire game. It is also the singular character you customize in the game. Depending on which character you play as, story events and dialogue will differ slightly, but the main story will remain the same.




Classes:

Battlers - Uses one-handed and two-handed weapons, can dual-wield. This class has the most HP and is melee focused.

Koas - Uses one-handed weapons and spears, can equip shields. This class is balanced between offense and defense, and uses holy magic as support.

Darks - Uses two-handed weapons and spears. This class uses dark arts and can sacrifice the user's HP to deliver additional damage.

Gunners - Uses bows and guns. This class focuses on range combat and status attacks, while relying on traps and survival skills.

Kanbus - Uses hand-to-hand combat and two-handed polearms, and can dual wield. This class is for melee combatants that prefer using combo attacks and assasination skills.

Somas - Uses Staves. This class is a magician class that uses mainly spells to target elemental weaknesses.




Weapons Specialities:

Each class has its own limitations on what weapons can be equipped. At the start of the game you will pick one of those weapon specialities to start with, which determines your starting equipment. Each weapon speciality has it's own skills that can be learned. They are divided into ranks, and once you reach the required rank in that class, you will be able to learn the skills in that rank for the weapon specialities available to that class. As you level up in the game you will gain AP (Ability Points), and you will use these points to learn and enhance the skills available to you. It only takes 1 point to learn a skill, but the more points you put into a skill, the more effective it is. Each skill has a maximum of 20 levels. The different weapon specialities are One-handed Weapons, Two-handed Weapons, Dual Wielding, Spears, Bows, Guns, Hand-to-hand, Two-handed Polearms, and Staves.




Character Points:

Besides gaining AP as you level up, you also gain CP (Character Points), which can be used to increase the character's four base statistics. These base statistics determine the strength of physical and magical attacks, as well as maximum HP/SP, defensive power and so on. The statistics that can be boosted are Strength, Magic, Health and Skillfulness.




Battle System:

The combat in Soma Bringer is meant to be simple to execute yet extremely customizable and strategic for the player. Each of the four buttons on the DS (X, Y, A, B) is mapped to an action. This action can be a normal attack, an attack skill, a non-attack ability or a spell. Simply by pressing that button, the mapped move will be executed. Two sets of actions can be customized, and the player switches between the two sets using the R button. Items are also mapped onto the four buttons, and by pressing the L button, the game toggles between battle mode and pocket mode. In pocket mode pressing a button will consume the item type mapped to it. The select button toggles between 5 different camera modes of zoom, and the start button will brings up the menu. While you can bring up the menu to change mapped actions at any time, the game does not pause when you access the menu, so it would not be wise to do so while in the middle of combat.




Break System:

When combos and consecutive attacks are pulled off on a single enemy, an exclamation mark (!) will appear over the enemy. Continuing to pummel the enemy in this state will lead to a (!!), and finally when 3 exclamation marks appear (!!!) the enemy will be in a "break" state and any attacks in this period will result in tremendous extra damage. Certain forms of attack and timed combos can more effectively bring an enemy into break state than others. Although, just as enemies can be put into break states, so can the player.




The Music

The soundtrack for Soma Bringer is exclusively composed by Yasunori Mitsuda. This is the third game helmed by Tetsuya Takahashi he has composed for, and it is the largest soundtrack ever composed by Mitsuda. Spanning 3 CDs, there are a total of 55 tracks in the game. The Original Soundtrack release will contain an additional 4 bonus tracks presented in their recorded MIDI form. These tracks are the full length versions of 4 tracks from the game itself which were shortened because of space constrains. Pre-orders of Soma Bringer will also ship with a special Premium Soundtrack CD that gives a taste of the full soundtrack. Mitsuda has said that he feels that his work on Soma Bringer is probably the best audio quality possible on the Nintendo DS, and he has really pushed the hardware to it's limits. There will be two different sound mixes available in the game depending if you are using the DS speakers or headphone - because he wants to tune to sound quality in the game to be the best possible reproduction for the player based on which form of audio playback is being used.


Title: Soma Bringer Premium Soundtrack
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
Discs: 1
Price: Free Pre-order Bonus


Title: Soma Bringer Original Soundtrack
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
Publisher: Procyon Studio (Sleigh Bells)
Distributor: Sony Music Distribution
Official Site: Procyon Studio
Discs: 3
Tracks: 59
Price: 3360yen
Buy it now!

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