What I’m Playing:
Fire Emblem: Awakening – So far this game rules. I’m a Fire Emblem fan so it probably wasn’t going to take much to get me to like it, but the most impressive thing about it is the sheer amount of content and customization it has compared to previous games in the series. The gameplay options allow you to make it as draconian and frustrating or casual and easygoing as you like. The extra maps, battle training missions and DLC extend the game well past its core story mode, while seemingly managing to keep things interesting. The Second Seals item, which allows you to reset your characters to their base classes with their leveled up stats more or less intact (Disgaea style), means you don’t have to stop grinding them at promoted level 20 as in previous games. With the marriage system allowing you to recruit people’s kids, and the large amount of guest characters you can recruit from past games, the party combination possibilities get pretty crazy. The support conversations between characters are pretty great too.
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward – This is the sequel to I game I played on the old school DS earlier called “999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors”. It’s a bit different from other video games since the format is presented in a visual novel style (think Phoenix Wright) with puzzles scattered in between. The premise is that your character basically gets kidnapped, dumped in a weird place with some other random people, and has to try to escape by playing the mysterious host’s sadistic game, while people die in between. At about 10 hours in, I’m still into it enough, but I do get the sense that the game piles on the wordy dialog and transitioning too much, which makes things drag on and on a lot. Game completion estimations are at about 30 hours, which I think is too long for a game like this. It should take 15-20 hours at the most, which was about the length of the last game.
What I’m looking forward to:
Shin Megami Tensei IV – Like with several other people, playing “Persona 3″ finally got me into this RPG series. I feel like I should have been into it much earlier since the general theme of series involves you Pokemon capturing demons to fight with you in the post-apocalypse, punching out deities from various religions, and siding with Fascists, Darwinists, or neither and telling both groups to fuck off. (In Persona’s case, shooting yourself in the head with a gun or whatever and summoning a weird looking thing that’s supposed to be your inner self I guess to fight demons in a weird dungeon, with High School bullshit in between.) Of course, that may have been difficult since there have been a shitload of games and spinoffs of the series released since the NES days, but only the games from the past decade or so have actually been localized. Anyway, SMTIV is the latest in the main branch of the series, of which Nocturne (aka Part III) and Strange Journey was released in America. Having played through and enjoyed both, and from seeing trailers and whatnot of IV, I’m pretty excited to play IV and hope it lives up to its pedigree.
Project X Zone – Impressions of this game from the Japanese release seem to lean towards meh, which is a bit worrying. However, it’s hard for me to say no to game I though had no chance of being localized (Sega/Namco/Capcom RPG crossover with loads of obscure characters to Westerners) out of sheer curiosity. Hopefully my opinion of it will end up being somewhat more positive then what impressions seems to suggest.
Yoshi Island 3DS – I’m conflicted about this. The original Yoshi’s Island is one of my favorite SNES games. On the other hand, the Yoshi’s Island sequel for the old DS was, while not bad, kinda meh overall. This new one has a prerendered style, which, unfortunately, doesn’t look as appealing as the original SNES art style. Despite these reservations, my love of Yoshi’s Island makes me want to give it a shot.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team – This really reminded my that I need to stop messing around and play “Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story” at some point. The first two Mario & Luigi RPG games were both great, and this one looks to continue the trend.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – This game mainly caught my eye because it reminds me of Shadow Complex, and that was an awesome game. If it manages to keep to the same quality that the console Batman Arkham games have, then it looks like it could be a real winner.
Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past 2 – I didn’t think it be possible, but after Twilight Princess, I got burned out with the Zelda Series. I haven’t even bothered to play Skyward Sword yet because of it. What happened, I think, is that I just got tired of the Ocarina of Time-a-like styles of the more recent major games of the series. Of course, Link to the Past style Zeldas have been milked enough too with games like Four Swords and such. The reason why this game got my attention then, is that I get the impression that it will have some interesting dungeons with the gameplay mechanics they have shown us so far. If that impression holds true, I think this could be something that will help me get back into Zelda again. Maybe.