It's beginning to feel a bit like winter... finally. Up till Wednesday of this week, I could comfortably go out and about in my usual knee-length shorts and even sandals, with a light jacket for the evenings. But then, like some avenging angel of the boreal reaches, a weather front swooped in to cut the temperatures with a scythe of wind. We were getting daytime temperatures of 17°C to 20°C before then (mid to high 60s in Fahrenheit), and now we're sitting at 10°C as a new norm, with lots of drizzly rain as well to make it feel chillier. The good news is that it's supposed to swing up a little by Monday, but it's still a nasty reminder that this is supposed to be the lead-in to winter right now, and we've only been lucky so far.
I just hope my little avocado tree in my classroom is doing alright in this.
For whatever reason, the Japanese have gotten it into their heads that X is pronounced "cross". This has caused much confusion in English-speaking countries over the proper way to say various game titles over the years, and Gung-Ho Entertainment is about to add one more into the mix. Namely this one:
Puzzles and Dragons X (Cross) just got announced last week, so all we have is three screenshots and a promise to have more revealed at the World Hobby Fair series of events in Nagoya, Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka next January and February. Still, these are some nice screenshots.
Just going by my memories with the previous game's demo, this looks a lot nicer. Hopefully we'll get some more info come January, so we'll know what the hero is supposed to be wearing. Until then, we'll just keep on puzzling.
I know a certain member of the RPGamer staff who will be very happy with this bit. His name starts with a "lol" and ends with a "whoops" and he's a major fan of a certain robo-centric franchise. The way Rocket Company has been going these days, it's no surprise that there's a new Medabots game coming soon — the fifth in almost as many years, I think.
Now, I have no idea how the story varies between all of these games. Practically all of them have two versions titled Kabuto and Kuwagata (or Medabee and Rokusho, if you still remember the TV series and localized GameBoy games), but the actual main robots in this new set are called Zipper (for the Kabuto-type) and Souen (for the Kuwagata type).
Whichever version the player goes with, it's a surprise to the protagonist. Young Tenma was just minding his business when he had a run-in with Medabee and Rokusho out on the street one day. He acquitted himself surprisingly well for a kid who didn't have much interest in ro-battling, and suddenly he's got himself an admissions letter to an elite academy specifically for battling prodigies and their Medabot partners. Located on a little island off the coast of Japan, the Meda-cademy is a serious institution in the highest form of Japanese prep-school style. As a part of the overall curriculum, Tenma needs to choose his after-school clubs as well, with fellow ro-battlers like intrepid Kunigiku (with little Sanbu), school idol Mio (with the feline Lapis), annoyingly precocious Myne (with the heavy-hitting Titania), or mechanically minded Ryouma (with Ginsei).
Medabots 9 is due out on Christmas Eve of this year, and comes with a nice little soundtrack as a pre-order bonus.
At TGS this year, as almost every year, Square Enix had more game titles on display than it actually offered demos for. One of these trailer-only display titles was Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna. Previously known as Project Setsuna, its title translates as "Sacrifice and Setsuna of the Snow." And certainly, it is a very snowy game.
It is also a game that is very grounded in traditional JRPG gameplay. It's the first project out of Square Enix's Tokyo RPG Factory, a studio dedicated to pummeling the nostalgia centers of its target audience until they cough up the cash to buy the game. So far, it looks like the Factory's right on track with this one.
The main plot revolves around the titular sacrifice. On an isolated island in the frigid north, the citizens must make a human sacrifice once every ten years to prevent monstrous things from attacking. But for some reason, in the current cycle the monsters attack in the dead of winter, months ahead of the scheduled sacrifice. It's up to the party of heroes to escort Setsuna, chosen victim, to the ritual site and save the island from being overrun by monsters, which sounds incredibly fatalistic.
Setsuna is all lined up for a February 18th release on PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. At least in Japan, physical and download copies for both systems will be sold for the same price of 4800 yen.
Project X Zone: Brave New World hit the shelves two weeks ago, and hit #2 on the sales rankings based on just three days' worth of sales. Sure, as of last week it had only moved forty-three thousand or so units, and the three platform releases of Atelier Sophie that released on Nov. 19th cumulatively outsold it by almost thirty thousand copies by the current data, but that's still not too shabby a start. The silver lining to this sales data, at least for me, is that it might be possible to grab a premium box edition of the game, complete, several months down the road for considerably less than the original price point. Why is this a big deal?
It's all about what comes with it. In this case, the premium box for PXZ2 includes a 3DS download code for Valkyrie no Bouken, a cute little NES action RPG whose protagonist has shown up in random Bandai-Namco stuff for decades after its 1985 release. But this is not the original version, oh no. This is a fully remade and remastered version that not only benefits from three decades of improvements in gaming technology, but also includes Xiao Mu, the flirty fox girl from Namco X Capcom, Endless Frontier, and of course Project X Zone. See for yourself.
I really wish my budget allowed me to put a hundred bucks down on premium boxes these days. With any luck, I might find one anyway, but really I'm just hoping that Bandai-Namco puts this one on the 3DS Store sometime in the future. It looks pretty slick.
I will freely admit that I do not read the majority of manga series currently running in Japan, much to the benefit of my bank account, so while I recognize the title of this next game, I've never looked at the source material. Seraph of the End: Origin of Fate apparently has one of those narrative backgrounds that can only really show up in Japanese manga, including worldwide plagues, underground vampire cities, and a reborn Japanese imperial army based on demonic contracts. I am going to assume that this all makes more sense in context.
As this is a manga/anime spin-off game, there will be a lot of dialogue on the subject of things I do not have the background to understand. Does anyone recognize any of these talking heads?
Thankfully it's not all just dialogue. Like a large plurality of spin-off titles, this one has alternating Adventure and Battle sections, and for all intents and purposes is a tactical RPG. Between the demonically possessed weaponry and the bloodsucking antagonists (and protagonists), it might even be an interesting one.
Seraph of the End: Origin of Fate will arrive in stores on Dec. 17th, for the PS Vita.
In parting, I'd like to show you this video that Atlus whipped up to promote Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir. Basically, the company made several promises dependent on the number of tweets the game got, and the number passed 28,888 (the last critical number) about two weeks ago. So as promised, Atlus is producing this:
It's a browser-based 8-bit Odin Sphere game with no actual connection to the real title. It's just for fun.