Do you like RPGs? Do you have a 3DS? If the answer to both is "yes," then holy shit, this has been a good spring to you. Between Fire Emblem: Awakening, Etrian Odyssey IV, and now Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, some high quality titles have come our way in the past few months, and it looks like there's more to come in Project X Zone and Shin Megami Tensei IV. It's a cornucopia, except with out all of the nonsense like tributes and girls named Katniss. (That will be the only Hunger Games reference I consciously make here.)
Fire Emblem: Awakening
I'm a pretty big fan of Fire Emblem. Maybe not as insanely hardcore as some people I could mention, but but pretty damn core, at least And just this past weekend, I finished the story of Fire Emblem: Awakening the first time after logging over seventy-five hours on it. And there are still plenty of things I want to do in it. So it's pretty easy to say that I've really enjoyed it. The story isn't my favorite, but the characters are all really enjoyable, and they made some really fun tweaks to the gameplay this time around with the ability to pair up units and bringing back marriage.
And while the DLC is steep (six bucks a pop for map packs containing three maps each), they're still pretty fun for being able to revisit characters and maps from past games. And also watch long-time western fans writhe at some of the name localizations given to the previously Japan-only portion of the roster. And then you go further down the rabbit hole into all of the location names that have proper localizations now and you realize that cleaning up all of the Fire Emblem-related wiki pages on Giant Bomb is going to be a major pain. And that's on top of cleaning up the ones that were poorly written to begin with. There are some real doozies out there that are like staring into the abyss of death while trying to untangle. (Warning: Wall of text.)
But not to get off track, I'm keeping up with the DLC, even if they've gotten to a point where I am routinely being destroyed, seeing as I haven't even begun to abuse stat growths through re-classing my characters yet. I also need to go back and play the maps that were released as SpotPass DLC to see how they are. But like I said, I still have plenty I want to do.
Etrian Odyssey IV
After capping the story in Fire Emblem, I finally got around to starting up Etrian Odyssey IV, which had been sitting on my shelf since its release. I hadn't had much experience with the series before, aside from a few minutes of Etrian Odyssey III, but I had a pretty good idea of what to expect coming in. A hardcore dungeon crawler light on plot and heavy on the cartography. It took me a few hours to really get into a groove as I learned how the game plays, got a sense of upgrading my characters, avoiding F.O.E.s and drawing good maps, and of course leveling up and equipping weapons and armor so that my party could take on something stronger than a light breeze.
And so far, I'm really liking it. Roaming around labyrinths, charting the landscape and knocking the lights out of a F.O.E. for the first time is pretty exhilarating. And even though the story is light, the localization is filled with color. And colorful language. (I'm pretty sure this is the first game I've ever played where a character referred to her "lady boner" in any context.) I'm still really early on in the game, but it' something that could easily occupy my time for quite a while.
Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers
I just picked up Soul Hackers tonight and took it for a spin. Like most people here, I never played the original version that was released back in the Saturn era. It's also hard to really get a good grip on how the game is from what little I've played so far; a large chunk of the first hour or so is exposition, some basic exploration, and a little combat before things really take off. A remake of a MegaTen game bordering on the days of yore, it's a first-person dungeon crawler, but it feels like it's aged well, and certainly has been improved on since the original release. It also has a pretty unique feel when compared to other games in the wider franchise that have seen western release with its cyberpunk feel. The game is really it's own thing and a nice way to step back into the franchise before Shin Megami Tensei IV comes out this year.
And Other Stuff
It's been a busy week for releases, actually. In addition to Soul Hackers, today was also the release date for Pandora's Tower and Injustice: Gods Among Us. I have my copy of Pandora's Tower secured; it's crazy to think that a fan campaign that asked for three games that seemed to have no chance at U.S. release are suddenly all domestic releases now. I'm really looking forward to having some time to put into it. Even if I don't end up enjoying it as much as Xenoblade Chronicles or The Last Story, the game still has an interesting hook, and I've heard plenty of good things about it. So it should at least be interesting.
And then there's Injustice, I'll also get around to at some point. I can't really say anything about it since I have yet to try it, but before I sign off, I should share my experience in buying it, as it did result in one of my more unusual encounters with a Gamestop clerk. After he found my copy of Soul Hackers and asked if I wanted anything else:
Me: "Do you have Injustice for the Wii U?"
Clerk: "Uh..." *Looks at wall display and games on counter.* "I don't think that's out for a couple of months."
Me: "...Its release date is today."
Clerk: *Begins searching computer as he speaks to another clerk.* "Do we have Injustice for Wii U?"
Clerk 2: *Cocks eyebrow and opens a drawer lined with blue game cases.*
Clerk: "Oh." *Pulls out a copy and shows it to me, then puts it back in the drawer."
Me: "...I wanted to buy it?"
Clerk: "You did?"
Clerk: *Pulls game back out, hesitant as though he's unsure of how this transaction is supposed to go.*
It was like buying a game from a body snatcher. What the hell?