@putemonsteret: This is a Nintendo DS game. The Nintendo DS doesn't have any sort of digital distribution of retail titles. This is a full retail title. What you demand is impossible.
@believer258: Poor Gamestop guys have probably had to learn what SMT is and learn quick. Getting word that they've got a giant book/game case/CD package coming in to fit somewhere on their shelves is an irregularity and a nuisance of such a degree I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the game sticks out in many of those employees minds.
The bad news is no, Shoji Meguro who handled primary composition for the Persona soundtracks you like is not working on this game.
This good news is that the Ryota Kozuka fellow who is handling this game did contribute to both the Persona 3 and Persona 4 soundtracks. His past works can be viewed here: http://vgmdb.net/artist/5293
The other good news is that Shoji Meguro did music for SMT Strange Journey (the previous installment in the main SMT franchise) and the music actually wasn't particularly remarkable. It was certainly functional and unique, but it's nothing I imagine anyone ever listens to outside the game. So having someone else on the SMT IV job is not a bad thing.
@creamypies:Just because it would be awfully nice for them to have a new Zelda game at this juncture doesn't mean that the game exists in a form that's ready to show. We already know there are two Zelda games in development for release this holiday season... that's almost unprecedented already. Sure, Square Enix would show a trailer to impress crowds while the game is still in pre-production just to make headlines, but Nintendo generally doesn't operate like that. I mean, they held out on freaking Link to the Past 2 until six months before launch!
@the_nubster: Well this seems to fit into your timeline then. The last time any Ratchet game came out was their experimental MOBA spinoff in 2012, and this is scheduled for 2015. No other products have been announced that will release during that gap. So there's your three years.
@patrickklepek - Just in case you scan these comments before jumping into Monster Hunter, take note. That is a multiplayer game. It absolutely does not stand up by any standard as a single player adventure. Everything from character progression (all loot based), to the narrative (barely there), to the controls (looong attack animations) are designed around getting three or four like minded people together to hunt down a giant dinosaur or three. I can't imagine that anyone else in the Giant Bomb editorial staff will be playing this but maybe you could track down some community members to play with?
It's not that I'm worried you won't like Monster Hunter, I don't much care for it myself. But I do really want you to continue breaking out of your comfort zone and diversifying Giant Bomb's coverage and I would hate for this to sour you on the whole notion.
Wow! I've been cruising the internet a little and there are some people upset about this game! Too much combat, floaty jumping, falling damage... that last one in particular is apparently quite an affront to some enthusiasts. I played the recently released demo of the game before reading all this vitriol and I came away with a very different impression. I feel like a lot of the criticism out there is only criticism to a person who has specific expectations for what a Castlevania game should be... the style and features of this game are very unlike recent handheld Castlevania games, but quite good regardless! Let's break it down.
Graphics and Sound
Are awesome, just like they were in Lords of Shadow. Putting this gothic action game in the hands of a Spanish development team is a gamble that's paid off very well - the art in these games is distinctly European and captures gothic stylings far better than any of the Japanese developed games ever did. There's an authenticity of design here that helps these games stand out not only from other Castlevania games, but from other games period. Very good stuff. The environments steal the show, and playing with 3D on is an absolute necessity. Even indoors the way the setting falls back into the background is really well done. It achieves the effect that the old parallax scrolling layers would pantomime in the old 2D games.
The music sounds like Lords of Shadow music. Did you play that game? Hop onto youtube for a listen if you feel the urge. LoS opts for a theatrical style soundtrack instead of looping level songs as past Castlevanias always have. I'm sure this is something Castlevania enthusiasts aren't happy about, but don't listen to them. It's a good theatrical style soundtrack, whether it fits with tradition or not is far less important than that.
is kinda weird. The jump arc is pretty stiff, reminding me of Super Castlevania IV. But unlike that game everything here is pretty easy - ledges are set aglow for the player when they're at all less than obvious, and Trevor can grab onto edges from a decent distance away. Falling damage is the penalty for failure if you miss a big jump, but from what's been shown it looks like missing platforms isn't gonna be a huge issue. It seems more like a tool to encourage the player to actually follow the intended level design rather than just shortcutting around by falling three stories. As long as the level design is good, this won't be a problem. If the game forces the player to backtrack through tedious and/or very hard sections just to avoid falling damage, then this will be a problem. On it's own falling damage is neither good nor bad, it is the level design that will make it one or the other. I really do like the stiff jump arc though, all the animations in this game feel deliciously heavy.
seems to be the focus of the game. Which shouldn't surprise anyone who played Lords of Shadow, this new Castlevania franchise is a franchise of action games. I'm not an action game enthusiast so I can't talk about frame canceling or move balance or anything, but it was surprisingly hard. Enemies will take a chunk out of 'ya if they hit, and very few moves stun them. I ended up using the dodge roll and air dash an awful lot just to stay alive. The whip felt good and heavy to swing around. There's a move list with two pages of unlocks as you level up, more than half were unlocked already for the demo. I couldn't figure out uses for all the moves, but I'm sure for the guys who break down combat systems and really get into that they're all valuable.
So in Conclusion
The game reminds me of pre-Symphony of the Night Castlevania in a lot of ways. Enemies take multiple hits, jumping is pretty stiff, dying is a real possibility. Real challenge has been absent from this franchise for quite a while (though Order of Ecclesia should be lauded for beginning to re-introduce the threat of death) so getting a brand new difficult 2D game with a lot of the stylistic trappings of the original formula is pretty exciting! It's also exciting to get a well produced 2D action game from a Western developer - these games have been almost solely the realm of the Japanese for far too long. This game isn't trying and failing to be a Metroidvania, it's trying to be something new.
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