For 2019's Alternative to E3 series, we're looking at a bunch of Falcom games! I've loved this RPG developer for a while and have been searching for an excuse to talk more about them, so that's what we're doing this year instead of poring over E3 trailers and news. Be sure to check Day -1 for more information via the table of links above.
Day 1: Zwei!!
E3 2019's begun in earnest, but I don't care (much). Instead, we're moving this five-day Falcom retrospective into the unknown by trying a few of their lesser known franchises; specifically, ones that I have no prior experience with. The first of these will be the Zwei!! franchise.
Zwei!! is a two-part game series, appropriately enough, that compromises The Arges Adventure and The Ilvard Insurrection. The first, The Arges Adventure, follows the adventures of brother/sister team Pipiro and Pokkle (they can be renamed by the player too) as they track down a masked thief that stole their village's six holy idols. Pokkle is spurred into action by his love of adventure, while Pipiro is suddenly more motivated when she hears there's a hefty reward for their recovery, and so the duo take on the various dungeons in the local vicinity of their bucolic floating island home. (There's technically a third game - Zwei Online - but that's some weird Korean MMO so I didn't count it. I know people love MapleStory though, so no tea from me.)
Like many Falcom properties, Zwei!! is a top-down action-RPG with a fast pace, with the duo - Pokkle is your close-range melee character, Pipiro is your ranged magic-user - quickly moving their way through dungeons full of monster encounters, treasure, traps, and switch puzzles. Each dungeon area of the game has a number of different routes, many of which are gated by progress-enabling mechanics - elemental magic, keys, new techniques - and a recommended level. The way levelling and items work in the game are just a few of the unusual quirks of the game, which is definitely on the lighter and more comedic side than most of other Falcom's properties. Despite originally releasing for PC in 2001 - hence why it looks like an early PS2 game - it wasn't until 2018 that international Falcom fans could check out The Arges Adventure for the first time. Curiously, the localization for its sequel came out a few months earlier, around the end of 2017 - I've yet to play The Ilvard Insurrection, but given there's a seven year gap between the first and second Zwei game, I imagine it's considerably different.
Screenshot time! There's a few mechanics I wanted to show off here, as well as the game's overall adorable look and tone.
Next Time On "Mento's Alternative to E3 2019: My Passing Interest in Falcom-ry"
From the silly to the (relatively) serious: we're going to delve into Falcom's roots with Xanadu and its modern incarnations. I swear there won't be any musical rollerskating.