Saturday, November 19, 2016

15 North American and Japanese 3DS games I'm planning to buy (and play) later in 2016 or at some point in 2017

A couple of weeks ago, I published a pair of posts about 14 Japanese and North American Vita games I'm at least thinking of buying and playing later this year or sometime next year. (Here is the first, and here is the second.)

As I hope you gathered from the headline above, today's post focuses on a similar number of North American and Japanese 3DS games I'm planning to buy and play during the same period.

Something that differentiates this post from my previous, Vita-centric posts: I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I want to own all of the titles discussed here. The question is: will I be able to afford all of them? Your guess is as good as mine. I'll certainly do my best to pick up as many as possible by the end of 2017, though.

With that out of the way, let's get to the 3DS games I hope to get my grubby mitts on by this time next year.

The Alliance Alive--All signs point to this upcoming release being a spiritual follow-up, if not a full-on sequel, to The Legend of Legacy. That thrills me because I thoroughly enjoyed playing The Legend of Legacy last year. (So much so that I called it one of my favorite games of 2015.) Still, I can't help but hope The Alliance Alive offers players more of a story than its predecessor. Oh, and more towns and non-player characters, too. Let's be honest, though--I'm very likely going to buy the game even if it just provides "more of the same."

Corpse Party--I've owned the PSP version of this grotesque survival horror title for years now. In that time, I've only played a few hours of it. (I walked away after I got stuck and for some odd reason refused to turn to an online walkthrough for assistance.) And yet I really want to buy the "remastered port" that was recently released for the 3DS. Assuming I go through with that purchase sooner rather than later, hopefully I'll manage to make my way to the game's end credits this time around.

Dragon Quest VIII--If you follow me on Twitter (and why wouldn't you?), you're probably well aware that I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Dragon Quest VII so far. (I've also shared my thoughts on the game in this previous post as well as this one, too, by the way.) Given that, you may be surprised to hear I'm looking forward to playing the upcoming 3DS port of Dragon Quest VIII. The fact is, like Dragon Quest VII, I've long been curious about VIII, and I think this portable port could be the nudge I needed to finally play it.

Etrian Odyssey V--Full disclosure: I never "beat" Etrian Odyssey IV--although I got really close to doing so and I enjoyed the experience up to the point I walked away from it. That last bit is what's got me feeling like I'll buy Etrian Odyssey V if and when it's brought to our shores. As dumb as it probably sounds, I'd much rather start this fifth entry from scratch than return to my nearly completed Etrian Odyssey IV save file. Who knows, though, maybe Atlus USA will do me a favor and decide against releasing it outside of Japan.

Ever Oasis--What's not to like about this Grezzo-developed ARPG, right? Both its art style and its gameplay bring to mind Secret of Mana, one of my favorite games back in the day. That Grezzo is helmed by Koichi Ishii, best known for creating Square Enix's Seiken Densetsu series is the icing on the cake, as far as I'm concerned. The only hurdle that could get in the way of me adding this 2017 release to my collection is the Nintendo Switch. If that system and its launch-window games capture my attention as much as I think they will, I may not have the energy--or money--for Ever Oasis.

Kirby: Planet Robobot--I was delighted when Nintendo announced Kirby: Triple Deluxe. Don't ask me why I never picked up a copy--I honestly couldn't give you an answer. I'm guessing, though, it came out at a time when I was strapped for time, cash, or both. As for why I'm now considering picking up a copy of Planet Robobot rather than Triple Deluxe, that would be because a lot of folks who've played each of these titles have told me the former is far preferable to the latter. Plus, Kirby: Planet Robobot features adorable mechs--and who doesn't love a game filled with adorable mechs?

Miitopia--Based on what was shown of this upcoming release during its recent Nintendo Direct broadcast, it looks like the love child of Tomodachi Life and Final Fantasy. In other words, I'm dying to put it through its paces--even if that means taking one for the team and attempting to do so via a Japanese copy of the game. After all, I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo of America balks at bringing Miitopia to our shores, especially considering it most likely wouldn't hit the streets here until after the Switch drops.

Monster Hunter Stories--Yes, Japanese 3DS owners have by and large turned their noses up at this MonHun-branded RPG. And yes, I've barely even looked at the copy of Monster Hunter 3G I bought some years back. That killer combo would cause most folks to avoid Stories like the plague. Not me. I adore the look of this game, plus I've heard nothing but good things about its gameplay. I can't say I'm thrilled about having to play through it in Japanese--you just know neither Capcom nor Nintendo will bring it to North America--but at least that should be an easier ask than playing through your average Japanese RPG due to Monster Hunter Stories being aimed at youngsters rather than adults.

Pikmin--I know a lot of people were unimpressed when Nintendo unveiled this side-scrolling Pikmin adventure a couple of months ago. I was not one of them. And, yes, this is despite the fact that it appears as though the game is being made by the same devs who gave the world Yoshi's New Island. I had a good enough time with that far-from-perfect platformer, and I have a feeling I'll have a good time with this effort, too. Even if I don't, I'll be shocked if I don't at least find the finished product intriguing.

Pokémon Moon--That I'm even thinking of buying Pokémon Moon is pretty ridiculous. After all, I devoted only a couple of hours to Pokémon X before dropping it, and I did the same with both Pokémon Pearl and Pokémon Emerald. In fact, the only Pokémon games I've ever put a good amount of time into are the first one and Black. Anyway, I'm going to do my best to turn things around with Moon. After all, I like its setting, I like its cast of characters (especially Professor Kukui) and I like the designs of most of its new "monsters," so all that's needed now to get me back in line is some free time--which is something I should have plenty of in the new year.

Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World--All you really need to know about why I'm looking forward to this 3DS port of Yoshi's Woolly World is that, unlike your average Joe or Jane, I didn't completely hate Yoshi's New Island. (Here's my review of it, if you're curious.) I also have fond-ish memories of Yoshi's Story. In other words, I'm a pretty big fan of Mario's dinosaur sidekick. Plus, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World looks better than both of those aforementioned titles combined, even with its slightly downgraded visuals. As long as its gameplay isn't similarly downgraded, I have a felling I'll find it well worth its asking price.

River City Tokyo Rumble--I've waffled back and forth on buying this Arc System Works-made brawler since Natsume first announced its North American release. At first, I was fully on board and stoked to play a modern take on the old classic that is River City Ransom. Then I read a handful of reviews that suggested Tokyo Rumble isn't the most engaging of experiences and jumped off the hype train. Now I'm back to wanting a copy--and for reasons I can't quite explain. As such, don't be overly surprised if this cartridge doesn't end up in my ever-growing library of 3DS games.

Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 3: Final Stage--I've got to be honest here: I'd buy Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 3 even if I hated all of the games included on its tiny little cartridge thanks to the fact that I own the series' first two releases. The good news is that I don't hate any of them. OK, so I'm not dying to play 3D versions of Columns, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 or Super Hang-On, but I'm also not planning to completely ignore those titles. That said, they're going to take a backseat to Gunstar Heroes and, especially, Alien Syndrome for a good long while.

Tank Troopers--When Nintendo first revealed Tank Troopers, I thought it had the chance to become another Splatoon-esque success for the Kyoto-based company. Of course, at the time, it wasn't clear Tank Troopers was going to be a digital-only game. Also, it wasn't known that it would completely and confoundingly eschew online play. Still, I can't shake the feeling that it will be something special. Of course, I'm a sucker for games featuring cartoonish tanks, so maybe I'm a bit biased.  

Yo-Kai Watch 2--My experience with the first Yo-Kai Watch was much like my experience with the 3DS remake of Dragon Quest VII. Both playthroughs were (are) roller coasters--one minute, I'm loving the hell out of the adventure at hand; the next, I'm wondering why I don't move on to something less aggravating. Still, I endured all of the ups and downs, got to see Yo-Kai Watch's credit roll and had more than enough fun along the way to know I want to own this follow-up. Yes, I've heard Yo-Kai Watch 2 is more like an extension of the original than a proper sequel, but I doubt that'll be an issue by the time I finally stick its cart into my 3DS.

Are you planning--or hoping--to buy and play any of the 3DS games discussed above? Or maybe you've got your eye on a few titles I failed to mention here? Let me know in the comments section below.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nippon Ichi's Roze to Tasogare no Kojou coming to North America as A Rose In The Twilight

I don't know why, but I was genuinely surprised to see NISA announce yesterday that it's bringing a localized version of its Japanese parent company's Roze to Tasogare no Kojou to North America this coming spring.

If this is the first you're hearing of Roze to Tasogare no Kojou, it's basically a spiritual successor to another Nippon Ichi Software-made Vita game, 2014's htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary.

For more information on this pseudo sequel, check out my post about its first Japanese trailer.

Am I planning to buy a copy of A Rose In The Twilight? Not at the moment. The main reason for my lack of interest is that I have a physical copy of the Japanese release--and haven't played it yet.

Still, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't stoked for North Americans who are looking for another cartridge to stick into their Vitas.

If that describes you, you'll probably like hearing NISA is selling two different versions of A Rose In The Twilight via its site. The standard edition is $19.99 while the limited edition is $39.99. The extra $20 for the limited edition gets you: a collector's box, a soft-cover art book, a soundtrack, a double-sided rubber strap and a giant stress ball.

Are any of you going to pick up one of the above-mentioned iterations of A Rose In The Twilight once it hits the streets on this side of the pond?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A somewhat gay review of Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~ (3DS)

Game: Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~
Genre: Visual novel
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Aksys Games
System: 3DS
Release date: 2016

I had such high hopes for Chase: Cold Case Investigations. The main reason for that: some (but not all) of the folks who made Hotel Dusk--as well as Trace Memory and Little King's Story--also made this digital 3DS game.

Unfortunately, Chase: Cold Case Investigations--or at least the minuscule portion of it that's presented in "Distant Memories" (more on what that means in a few paragraphs)--is no Hotel Dusk.

Hotel Dusk, despite its flaws, was a fully realized and surprisingly engaging, not to mention cinematic, product that showed just how marvelously dynamic a "visual novel" could be.

Unlike most of visual novels I've played--including Hakuoki and Sweet Fuse for PSP--to date, Hotel Dusk was more than a simple "Choose Your Own Adventure" story accompanied by static (and admittedly pretty) illustrations and enjoyable, if not altogether memorable, soundtracks. That 2007 title one-upped its fairly staid genremates by allowing players to freely move around within and otherwise explore three-dimensional spaces. It also let them solve puzzles and take notes using the DS' touch screen--all while holding the system on its side, "book-style."

And then there were satisfyingly superficial flourishes like the rotoscoped character portraits and the superbly low-key (and jazzy) backing tunes.

Sadly, you won't experience any of the above while working your way through Chase: Cold Case Investigations. What will you experience instead? A depressingly small cast (of six, if memory serves). Art that isn't completely terrible but is a far cry from what's showcased in the developer's previous titles. Scenes that feature such little animation they may as well be motionless. No exploration whatsoever. Disappointingly straightforward interactions with the game's characters. Oh, and the writing has little of the verve that drips from Hotel Dusk's text.

To be blunt, Chase: Cold Case Investigations feels half-baked. Worse, it feels like the half-baked introduction to what should be a much larger and longer game.

In its defense, it seems pretty obvious "Distant Memories" is just one part of what will wind up as a multi-part release. Still, this opening salvo is so underwhelming--and so relatively expensive, at $6 for less then two hours of content--that it's currently hard for me to imagine picking up any future installments unless it's clear from the word go they offer a lot more than this initial entry.

See also: previous 'somewhat gay' and 'Great Gaymathon' reviews