Today, Atlus USA was kind enough to invite us to view a web demo of Shiren the Wanderer for Nintendo Wii. The demo helped to shed some light on why this Shiren release is touted as the most accessible to date.
Shiren the Wanderer is more focused on story this time around, but still features random dungeons, loot, and turn-based combat. However, Atlus clearly states the game is not a roguelike. It features an easy and normal mode and both have Shiren maintaining his level when he dies. Easy mode makes things even more manageable by allowing Shiren to keep all of his items at death.
Shiren will have help for most of the game, as he can have up to two party members assisting him. Sensei is a dual-wielding powerhouse, Asuka is adept at battling with two-handed weapons, and Shiren is a master of all. Players can set members' AI for specific behavior and can also set priorities in terms of item usage. Since there is a shared inventory of thirty items maximum in dungeons, it's nice to be able to mark items that party members should not touch. It's also possible to control each party member one turn at a time. This isn't the fastest method of play and is only really optimal during boss battles.
There are a couple of unique features offered in Shiren the Wanderer. The most important is the suspend save option that is available at any time during a dungeon. Players can only save their progress permanently outside of dungeons, so having a quick save option is extremely useful. Also the game offers a form of achievements for performing certain actions in-game. Some of these actions are very unique, such as being turned into a rice ball and then hitting a trap that destroys rice balls. Another one is to find the best jar in the game and throw it away.
Currently Atlus has no Spoils planned for Shiren (We asked for the Shiren hat, but it was denied!). However, the game is set to retail for only $39.99 when it hits stores on Feb. 9, 2010.