Rundown (9/09-9/15) Bonk This Bank!

This is such a petty thing, but the way Pokemon Bank subscriptions are handled really bothers me.  At first I thought that if your subscription lapsed, you could more or less indefinitely recover your stored Pokemon, but no, they are erased from the server after a while, and then they are gone forever, which is utter nonsense, especially considering how renewing one’s subscription works.  You need to wait until you have 14 days or less left on your pass before you can extend the subscription, and if you forget, say goodbye to whatever is in there. No email notifications, no nothing. I have a near complete Pokedex (I missed Marshadow a while back), a box of shinies, alternate forms, and a Ditto with 3 perfect IVs in there.  Do you know how upset and fundamentally broken I would be if I were to lose all of that? More than a goldarn smidget.

With Tokyo Game Show right around the corner, a steady stream of Japanese game announcements were made.  Starting off, Cygames announced their major AAA console game, Project Awakening, quite a while back, and it received a proper, albeit very isolated, gameplay reveal.  One that showed off a realistic medieval setting wherein a knight fights a dragon, which would seem quite boring, but the graphical fidelity here seems to be pushing modern systems to their limit, with a lot of small interactables and some impressive animations.  This is likely still early in development, but it is promising, and I look forward to seeing how this PS4 title shapes up.

Meanwhile, Square Enix showed off a vague teaser trailer for the previously announced title from the newly formed Studio Istolia, Project Prelude Rune.  Though, it really was not much.  Just an Unreal Engine environment that looks very similar to those seen in the recently released Dragon Quest XI along with a singular character running around, before claiming the title is naturally a PS4 game.  From that alone, I really cannot say I see much of a reason to be excited about this game, especially when considering how plain the game looks next to its rad concept art.

It was far less interesting than the announcement of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition, an updated version of the classic Gamecube multiplayer title that comes with online play and new voicework, along with technical changes made due to the fact that the original games utilized the Gameboy Advance link cable.  While multiplayer games are not my cup of tea, I have heard a lot of good things about this title, and making it more available to people is something that I can only interpret positively. The game is due out in 2019 for PS4 and Switch.

Speaking of Square Enix remasters, remember how The Last Remnant was bizarrely delisted from PC storefronts earlier this month?  Yeah, that’s because the game is being revised, re-engineered around Unreal 4, and re-released on PS4 (and likely PC) as The Last Remnant Remastered, set to release on December 6th, 2018 as a $20 downloadable title.  Honestly, this is a move that I cannot view too harshly. The original game was easily available for years, this new version will hopefully improve things notably, and it is a common practice to delist the original PC version of a game when releasing a remaster, just look at Darksiders or Dark Souls for instance.  Plus, as I just said, remasters introduce games to a new audience and can grant them a second life, so I really see no reason to knock them.  Even if I do find them to be an odd move for certain niche titles

Though the big takeaway from this showcase, at least for me, was the latest project from the Yakuza studio, Judge Eyes.  A title that could easily be classified as a sort of spin-off of the Yakuza series due to how it is a crime drama set in modern day Japan, albeit one that focuses more on lawyers and political misdeeds, but still seems to have everything that people like about the Yakuza series and then some.  

With a high octane and flashy combat system featuring a character notably more limber than the Dragon of Dojima, a series of stalking and infiltration driven missions akin to the Hitman series, and what many have cited as Ace Attorney inspired investigation segments.  Combined with a series of hyperbolic scenes and setpieces and a bunch of wacky nonsense involving virtual reality board games, drone races, and skateboards, it actually looks all sorts of amazing.  The game is due out for PS4 in Japan this December, and a western release has already been confirmed for 2019.  

Amidst all of this news, there was also the announcement of a new Japanese company known as Too Kyo Games, which very well might have the best line-up of creative forces I have ever seen from a new game company.  With Danganronpa series director and writer Kazutaka Kodaka.  Zero Escape director and writer Kotaro Uchikoshi.  Root Double director and director and writer for the Infinity series Takumi Nakazawa.  Along with Danganronpa series composure Masafumi Takada and series artist Rui Komatsuzaki.  

They are currently working on four projects, including an anime where every character is a villain.  An action adventure title centered around a death game by children for children. A dark cyberpunk mystery title made in collaboration with Spike Chunsoft.  And a game with the directors of both Danganronpa and Zero Escape with the vague premise of Limit X Despair.  I do not normally get giddly hyped about new game announcements like this, but if these projects live up to these people’s pedigree, then this is one of the most exciting announcements I have heard in a very long time.

Oh, but that not being enough, Nintendo also graced the masses with a Nintendo Direct, after it was delayed last week due to a terrible Earthquake in Japan.  Starting with the 3DS bits first, in addition to both Luigi’s Mansion and Mario & Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Minions coming out before the end of the fiscal year, Nintendo also announced that the Wii classic Kirby’s Epic Yarn will be making its 240p debut on the 3DS as Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn.  As the name implies, it comes with extras in the form of a few hats that give Kirby special abilities, a new challenge mode, and mini games involving King Dedede and Meta Knight.  While I have been wanting to replay this game, I do not think I need to explain why this is not a very exciting announcement, as what good is a beautiful art style like this when you cannot see any of the details?

As for the rest, a lot of this Direct was showing more of previously announced games along with a series of announcements that were not too surprising.  Splatoon 2 got a very anime-esque trailer.  Mario Tennis Aces is getting new characters and updates.  The previously listed Katamari Damacy Reroll was announced as a Switch and PC remaster of the original PS2 title due out in winter 2018.  The Switch Yoshi game was retitled Yoshi’s Crafted World, still looks adorable, and is now due out in spring 2019.  

Moving on, Luigi’s Mansion 3 was announced as a 2019 title alongside a brief gameplay trailer that showed the game looking more or less as one would expect after the prior two titles well established the gameplay and visual motifs of the series, but with a bit of HD flare to it all.  New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe was announced as the long rumored repackaging of the original Wii U launch title and the 2013 New Super Luigi U expansion, with the notable extras of a playable Nabbit along with Toadette, who can also transform into Peachette, a character with the ability to glide, double jump, and recover from lethal flaws.  I have many questions as to how this is possible and the origins of Peach, but I guess the fan theories will start satiating my curiosity when the game launches on January 11th, 2019.

As for a game announcement that actually surprised me, Town is the latest title from Game Freak, and it is an RPG where the player is tasked to defend and manage a small town as it is attacked by gangs of roaming monsters.  I am not too sure how it will work in practice, but it does seem like the project had some concerted effort put into it by Game Freak, and it at the very least visually looks better than Pokemon Let’s Go based on this trailer.  As to be expected, the title is due out in 2019, and its name is subject to change into something more SEO friendly.

Square Enix went completely Final Fantasy crazy by announcing a total of seven Final Fantasy games for the Switch, excluding the aforementioned Crystal Chronicles Remastered.  With unsurprising re-releases of Final Fantasy VII, IX, X and X-2 Remastered, and XII: The Zodiac Age all set to realize in 2019.  Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD, which was made available right after the Direct.  World of Final Fantasy: Maxima, an enhanced version of the 2016 title that allows the player to Switch out the dopey main characters for main characters from other titles, is due out on November 6th.  Along with Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy , a remastered version of the 2007 dungeon crawler that allows every enemy to be befriended as its seemingly sole new feature, due out this winter.

The last game is such a deep pull that it honestly left me a little dazed…  Though, I would be more stunned if Square Enix announced every mainline mainline Final Fantasy title, including the sequels to XIII.  That would have been massive!  Oh, and as a quick edit that I am making right before posting this, Square Enix has made the release of this wave of games super confusing, as some are coming out on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.  It’s all weirdly fragmented and is best summarized by this one tweet.  Also, I guess FFVIII can suck it, because it’s not included it with the rest of its peers.  Maybe next year, I guess.

Continuing on with multi-platform releases, Capcom announced a new re-release of their classic arcade titles with the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle, a collection containing Final Fight, King of Dragons, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round, Warriors of Fate, Armored Warriors, and Battle Circuit, all while forgoing the Final Fight sequels for… reasons.  The collection is due out on September 18th for PS4, XBO, NSW, and PC, and since the recent Street Fighter re-release worked out well, beyond some netcode issues, I’m sure this will be just fine too.  While Ubisoft announced a Japan-exclusive cloud based version of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, because that country actually has good telecomm services.  

I think that is about it, so— Wait, that’s right, there has to be a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate announcement.  Well, after a trailer that presented itself as an Animal Crossing title, it was announced that series favorite Isabelle would be coming to Smash as an original character and not an Echo Fighter.  It is an announcement that many expected, and to not belittle Animal Crossing fans, a new Animal Crossing for the Switch was announced for 2019, though no details were provided.

All in all, the Direct was… Okay, no, I seriously forgot this time, but they did talk about the Nintendo Switch Online service launching on September 18th, and it is near exactly what people expected.  By paying $20 annually, people will be able to play the Nintendo games they already could play online. Gain access to a growing library of NES titles that you could just emulate if you can find a nice ROM package after Nintendo tried shutting down all the good ROM sites.  Cloud save data backups. And access to a Smartphone app that people hate and is inferior to just using Discord or whatever. So it is just as bad as expected, as worse than people hoped.

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