We’re Just Really Excited For Xenoblade 3, Okay? – This Week in Games

And so it is that we find ourselves here again. My name is Jean-Karlo and I’m happy to see you all again, if you’re coming back—or for the first time, if you’re new. I’m hoping you guys are having a good time—I know I am. At the time of writing, I saw a little video on YouTube talking about Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, which just about made my day. Talking about that obscure roguelike is a quick way to my heart, I tell you what (thanks, Pan Pizza!).

As I quickly approach a full month of having covered this column, I’m quite flattered at the warm reception I’ve received up until now. I’m happy I get to ring in everyone’s weekend with fun stories to look forward to about their favorite games, or new stuff that’ll soon become your favorites. I can’t promise I’ll always talk about crossovers with sexy ninja gacha games based off of erotic visual novels, but I can promise I’ll talk. Like right now.

This is This Week In Games.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Special Edition Is Restocked… In A Not-Very-Useful Way

At the time of publication, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 should be released. Reviews came out earlier this week and by and large appeared to be positively stunning. I won’t be able to play it because outside of writing about video games and watching VTubers gush over Stray I am a responsible and functional weeb-in-hiding who works a nine-to-five, so I’ll have to get home from work before I can fall in love with another new cast of catgirls with English accents. Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s release was quite the ordeal; suffice to say, Nintendo‘s handling of the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 special edition release was what I could best sum up as a fiasco. It was only made available on Nintendo‘s own online website, which wasn’t up to the task of handling all of the oncoming traffic of gamers (and scalpers) looking to acquire a copy. Many people walked away without a copy. Nintendo later tried a second release, which did better… but there are still a lot of people that wanted a copy that ultimately never could. Whether or not you managed to nab a copy seemed to boil down entirely to luck, which… isn’t how these things should shake down, in my opinion. I got lucky, I got my copy—I feel for folks who didn’t, especially with how anticipated Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is.

At any rate, anyone who preordered a copy, digital or physical, should be receiving it. If you wanted a third chance to nab a special edition you’re in luck. Sort of. Nintendo is still selling special edition copies… at their New York City-based Nintendo Store. And the copies are only available for Xenoblade’s release date of July 29th. So if you’re reading this and you’re not already around New York City… well, sorry this isn’t of much help to you. What makes the whole thing worse is that even if you bought the special edition set, you won’t even be able to actually receive it until October, when it’s shipped out from Nintendo. And if you bought the special edition at the Nintendo Store in New York, your only option is to pick it up at the actual physical location.

I don’t know what possessed Nintendo to make such a decision for such a hotly-anticipated title, and I really hope that going forward they don’t make the process so completely pants. But thank goodness for small favors: it feels like just yesterday we were all clamoring for Nintendo to actually release the first Xenoblade Chronicles in the U.S. All we have to do now is hope that we get a Xenoblade Chronicles X release in the U.S. Also: be sure to pick up the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 expansion pass, it’s got plenty of goodies to add to Xenoblade Chronicles 3 well into December of 2023.

Tactics Ogre Is “Reborn”—Pyrrhic Victory To Follow

I’m on the Spectrum so time is weird for me; it feels like just yesterday that we were all clamoring over Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, the PSP remake of that classic tragic Queen-referencing strategy game Tactics Ogre that would serve as an ancestor to Final Fantasy Tactics. A quick glance on Google shows that that remake came out… 12 years ago. Moral of the story: don’t ask me to keep time for you.

Anyway, fans of games that rip your heart out and will make you realize the abject tragedy and futility of war will be glad to know that Tactics Ogre’s latest remake is due for release on November 11. This version promises tons of great quality-of-life features like an autosave feature, faster battles, options for playing cutscenes in either English or Japanese, a revamped UI, and higher-fidelity music. But that’s just the good news—nothing in Tactics Ogre is ever a purely happy victory, and Tactics Ogre: Reborn has a steep penalty to it…

For whatever reason, Tactics Ogre: Reborn applies a smoothing filter onto all of Tactics Ogre’s lovely sprite art. The result is all of the characters and sprites looking just a little blobbier and smudged. This is already a disappointment, but it’s even more so when the Let Us Cling Together remake is still right there; we can see just how much worse all the spritework is. Is this enough to condemn the whole game, lock stock and barrel? Honestly, even for me, no. Any version of Tactics Ogre is a game worth picking up. This version looking like someone smeared Vaseline all over the sprites is a real downer, but not a gamebreaker. Worst-case scenario, you can pick up a PSP and a used copy of Let Us Cling Together—and even then, you’d definitely be missing out on some good features. But it still would have been nice to see Tactics Ogre given an HD2D revamp like Octopath Traveler or Triangle Strategy instead of this blurred-over redesign.

Save The Date: Wii U and 3DS eShop Closure Date Announced

It had to happen sooner or later. Breaks my heart to talk about it, but here we are: Nintendo has announced that the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShops will be shut down on March 27th, 2023. Credit cards could no longer be used to add funds to a Wii U or 3DS account as of this past May; similarly, Nintendo eShop cards will no longer be functional on those accounts by August 29th of this year. Codes can still be redeemed, but that is that.

This one’s heartbreaking for me. The Wii U’s GameBoy Advance titles available through the Virtual Console are a tremendous loss, especially since we never were allowed access to those on a 3DS for literally no good reason. Thankfully, of the Wii U exclusives only Xenoblade Chronicles X requires saving now—all of the other big Wii U titles have since been ported. The 3DS isn’t so lucky; there are a ton of 3DS games and DLC that are landlocked on that family of consoles, especially digital-only fare like the Guild01 titles like Crimson Shroud or Attack of the Friday Monsters. Persona Q, that delightful blend of Etrian Odyssey and Persona 3 and 4,is 3DS-only, and it may well be digital-only following a weird production error with its cartridges. Fire Emblem Awakening, the title that put Fire Emblem back on the map for fans around the world, will soon only be available in its default form, costing players access to the downloadable classes, Xenologues and that one beach-map that covered up a swimsuit-wearing Tharja with a curtain for no reason. And it’s even worse for Fire Emblem Fates; the entire Revelations path was DLC-only. Oh, and were you guys fans of Theatrythm: Final Fantasy Curtain Call? That game had a ton of amazing DLC including music from Live A Live, SaGa, The World Ends With You, and plenty of other great Square-Enix titles. You know the drill: DLC only (and all together, it all costs in the triple digits). And there’s also weird stuff like Zara The Fastest Fairy, which is such an oddity that I think we’ll be lesser without it.

I feel bad for the 3DS. I love that console so much and it meant a lot for me. And in spite of what the peanut gallery itching for Nintendo‘s retreat from the console industry claimed, the 3DS kept Nintendo afloat between “major” consoles. I always felt the 3DS never did get a proper swan song, like it died with a quiet whimper. It was a good console. We may well enjoy it while we still have full access to its digital library.

I Don’t Wanna Do Another “Blank Draws Near” Joke, Here’s Some Dragon Quest News

We had a twofer for Dragon Quest this past week, for two different games even! First up: the development of the offline version of Dragon Quest X continues. A second trailer was released this past week, going over the basics of the game. It’s in Japanese, because as far as we can tell there are still no plans for it to come over to the U.S.

The trailer details the five races you can choose for your player characters, the basics of the skill system, the crafting system, and other fun matters like the all-important fishing and gambling mini-games. The general look and feel of the game seems most similar to Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky, which is not a bad Dragon Quest to choose as the basis for your MMORPG. It’s slated for release for the PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Steam.

Dragon Quest has really come into its own in the United States, with more and more players coming around on its traditional turn-based systems and charming characters and writing. Dragon Quest XI really struck with a large audience in the U.S., and the hero from that game even got a stellar spot as a Smash Bros contender (which was well-earned). Then there’s stuff like the Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai anime coming out, which is a fantastic fantasy adventure anime I wholly recommend to everyone. I really hope DQX gets ported to the U.S. On an unrelated note, I do hope that once Square-Enix decides to take Final Fantasy XIV out to pasture they design a similarly-offline adaptation for it as well. But I digress—and that’s a long way off, anyway. Heck, Final Fantasy XI still hasn’t gone offline!

Second is a deeper look into the upcoming Dragon Quest Treasures. This one looks to be new ground for the Dragon Quest franchise, as it’s a “treasure hunting” game. Players control siblings Erik and Mia as they travel the Draconian Islands, recruiting monsters to help them locate treasure chests. Once they find the treasure chests, they have to make it back to their base to appraise their haul; but their return trip can easily be beset by pirates looking to boost their loot. There were a few other cute details, like their spirit-companions: Purrsula the floating kitty-spirit, and Porcus the flying piggy, and how a unique monster’s ability might help the twins traverse the world; one example was Erik grabbing onto a Dracky to fly around. It strikes me as a new take on Dragon Quest Monsters, that old classic mons-based spin-off of Dragon Quest that was in turn an expansion on Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride‘s monster taming system. What’s more, Dragon Quest Monsters tied into Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie; so too does Dragon Quest Treasures serve as something of a prequel to Dragon Quest XI, as Erik was one of your party members in that game.

The whole thing makes me chuckle in my sleeve a little; the Dragon Quest series was held up for so long as the poster-child of JRPGs in terms of how “stagnant” the genre is, but the Dragon Quest series alone has so many unique spin-offs from Monsters and its monster taming to Rocket Slime with its goo-fy take on Zelda-esque puzzle solving to the Torneko games and their take on roguelike exploration. I’m looking forward to Treasures, but it comes out this December 9th on the Nintendo Switch. I’m pretty sure I’ll only be about halfway through Xenoblade Chronicles 3 by then…

NEXTON Announces One 30th Anniversary Project

I like to talk about visual novels, whenever possible—they’re an important part of anime and gaming fandom. Nuts to whether they count as “real games” or not, too many anime franchises have their roots in visual novels, and far too many game series made their fame courtesy of folks who cut their teeth on visual novels (fun fact: Iga, daddy of the Metroidvania, got his start with Tokimeki Memorial). So here we have a pretty big scoop for visual novels: this past week, NEXTON announced a big 30th anniversary project: a remake of their 1998 classic, One: Kagayake Kisatsu e.

One is a pretty important title; many staff from that game went on to found Key, which in turn would create many beloved visual novel titles like Kanon, Air, and Clannad. It was also one of those big, beloved adult VNs that got so big it merited a console port; much like Fate Stay/Night, it was later given a PlayStation port with its adult content removed. Now, the trailer itself doesn’t go over much outside of introducing the main cast and giving a brief overview of the main story, which details the adventures of a young man as he romances a number of his female peers while he also finds himself in the middle of a mystery involving an alternate world. Not much else was announced: we still don’t know which consoles One will be returning to, nor when it will come out. We’ll keep an eye on this one.

Amnesia Refuses To Be Forgotten, Make Their Way To The Switch

In other visual novel news: Amnesia: Memories and Amnesia: Later × Crowd are headed to the Nintendo Switch! Not content with just porting such beloved otome games to the Switch, IdeaFactory is going all-out with some snazzy special edition sets. Take a look!

I struggle to think of a better platform for visual novels than the Switch. It’s portable, so you can play these games on the go, and visual novels are easy enough to enjoy on your commute. And hey, headphones. If you want Akira Ishida to whisper sweet nothings into your ears and your ears alone, no better way to isolate from your commuters! (Does Akira Ishida still do VNs? Is he who people love these days? I appreciate VNs a lot, but I don’t know much about them.)

At any rate: Amnesia has you covered if you want lots of melodrama. The first Amnesia details the misadventures of an amnesiac woman as she balances regaining her memories with pursuing a number of eligible bachelors. There’s a catch: if any of them find out about her missing memories, it might lead to her never regaining her lost memories ever again! Progress requires you balance three factors with your paramours: it’s not just a matter of saying the right things to each man to increase their affection, but you also have to mind their Trust and Suspicion. Trust, you want to keep at an all-time high; if Suspicion gets too high, you’ll hit a Bad End. I’m particularly interested in the Gallery feature, where you not only peruse old images unlocked in the story, but can touch specific points on the image to unlock extra dialogue and information not available in the main game.

Meanwhile, Later × Crowd serves as an expansion to the main game, not only offering extra insight to the main routes but also offering further glimpses into the side-characters. If you want your routes to end in wedding bells, you’ll want this one!

The Special Edition looks really snazzy, with soundtracks, steel books, and an art book available. There is also a set of bromide cards (I am a sucker for trading cards, easiest way to get me to pledge to a Patreon), although the art hasn’t been finalized yet. The Nintendo eShop pages are already up for these games, if you’re just interested in the digital copies.

Don’t ask me how we got a double-dose of soccer-game news this week, we just did, and they’re both pretty big doozies! The first up is one anyone from Latin America is going to boggle at just a little: we’re getting a mobile game based off of—of all things—Captain Tsubasa!

Captain Tsubasa is an old Shonen Jump classic. Created by Yōichi Takahashi in 1980, it’s a beloved series about Tsubasa Ozora and his journey to represent Japan in the FIFA World Cup. Captain Tsubasa never quite caught on in the United States, but like Saint Seiya and Slam Dunk it caught on massively in Latin America, where it was known as Super Campeones. And for whatever reason, Captain Tsubasa is now back in mobile game form as Captain Tsubasa: Ace. Available courtesy of DeNA, the game is available for pre-registration right now. Not much else is evident about the game from the trailer alone, not even a release date. Folks from Mexico are excited, but I hope this game finds an audience everywhere.

Speaking of soccer anime beloved abroad, there’s Level-5’s Inazuma Eleven. A long-running series of soccer-themed RPGs, the Inazuma Eleven series was a hot commodity: three main games, 11 spin-offs, four anime series and four animated theatrical films. Only one of the games ever came to the United States, years after the fact, but that seems to have been Level-5’s modus operandi with its franchises. Make a series that gets white-hot in Japan, make yearly sequels, only bring out the first entry to the U.S. once the series is burning itself out in Japan. We saw it happen with Yōkai Watch, which was touted for a while as a definite Pokémon killer (it wasn’t—poor series burned bright but burned fast), and we saw it with Inazuma Eleven. At any rate, the fourth Inazuma Eleven title, Victory Road of Heroes, is slated for release in Japan sometime next year for the PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android. Level-5 detailed plenty about the game on their blog, and it’s really substantial stuff.

For starters, in a vast departure from the previous games, the game is played from the perspective of a character that can’t play soccer, instead guiding his fellow teammates. There’s a gameplay mode for recruiting previous Inazuma Eleven characters, but for the most part this is a stand-alone game set in a unique world apart from the mainline games. What’s more, the Switch version is specifically being tailored to reincorporate the series’ trademark pen-and-paper-esque controls. It’s all fascinating stuff, with Level-5 working double-hard to keep Inazuma Eleven maintaining its unique feel without turning it into a rote soccer sim. It definitely sounds interesting, and I can imagine that longtime Inazuma Eleven fans are hotly anticipating this new title. Will it come stateside? Who knows. Level-5 seems to have given up the ghost on Yōkai Watch, be it in Japan or in the U.S. It might be they think Inazuma Eleven‘s time in the sun has passed in the U.S.

Resident Evil Village‘s Expansions Incoming: Yes Virginia, Ethan Isn’t Just An Arm

It just wouldn’t be a Resident Evil without a Mercenaries mode! This past week we were privy to the Resident Evil Village Gold Edition trailer that expanded on all the new goodies the game will have going forward. And it’s a lot!

First off: there’s a third-person mode for Ethan’s story mode. I like this a lot: I appreciate the first-person view for the new Resident Evil games (it’s a good way of keeping tension, like the original games with their tank controls), but the third-person view feels like a good practice run for that upcoming Resident Evil IV remake. But there’s also the Mercenaries mode where players can shoot up bioweapons! So far, the confirmed playable characters are “that boulder-punching asshole” Chris Redfield, Heisenberg and his magnetic hammer, and Lady Dimitrescu and her bad manicure. Chris has the usual bevy of firearms at his disposal, Heisenberg showcased some fun uses of magnetism (my favorite was him keeping a spinning saw blade in front of him for fun and dismemberment), and Dimitrescu appears to be able to summon her daughters in the form of swarms of bugs. There’s also the mysterious “Shadows of a Rose” mode, which appears to detail Rose’s adventures from the epilogue to Village. Finally, players can upgrade their PS4 copy of the game to the PS5 at no extra cost. You can look forward to all this goodness dropping on PS4, PS5, the Xbox family, Steam, and Stadia (lol) this October 28th.

Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 Announced

So, this is exciting! This past week, Famitsu revealed that CyberConnect is working on a new sequel to last summer’s Fuga: Melodies of Steel!

It’s a bit early so there isn’t much else to go off of, visually-speaking, but the logo. But folks who played the first Fuga know what to expect: a group of furry-children pilot a village-sized tank as they try to stay alive in a war heavily-inspired by World War II. Each child has stats and bonuses that confer perks to the tank if they’re assigned to certain duties, but the tank also has a Soul Canon that can obliterate any enemy… at the cost of the life of one of the children in the tank. The first Fuga had multiple endings depending on how many of the children you sacrificed, with the True End of course requiring no sacrifices. Fuga 2 builds off of that, offering bonuses if there is save data from Fuga 1, including extra bonuses for a True End saved up.

I regret not having picked up Fuga 1 up until now because believe it or not, I’ve basically been struggling with both Xenoblade games since I got my Switch (I’m a slow player, okay?). Fuga belongs to a very loveable series called the Little Tail Bronx series, which includes such titles as Tail Concerto and one of my all-time favorite titles, SoLaToRoBo for the DS. It’s not only nice to see another Little Tail Bonx game so soon—but also to see a direct sequel in the first game. SoLaToRoBo referenced and cameoed Tail Concerto’s cast, but wasn’t connected otherwise. They’re fun, charming, lovely games and it sucks that they’re all so absurdly rare and hard-to-find. Even if the Fuga games are much more tragic and melancholy than SoLaToRoBo, I highly recommend it. Our buddy Todd Ciolek (the best Todd in gaming, as far as I’m concerned), reviewed the first one for us, he’s got some sage words on it. There’s no news on Fuga 2’s release in the U.S., but it’s due for release in Japan next year.

“Please Don’t Spoil Digimon Survive”, Says Digimon Twitter

So, Digimon! I love them, maybe you do too, maybe you also have one of those cute little Digimon v-pets. Digimon Survive should be out by the time this article goes live, and Digimon fans everywhere are looking forward to their chance to raise Angewomon. But the Digimon social media account has a specific request for folks: “Don’t spoil the game for at least two months after its release”.

Now, society has—in my opinion—gotten what the scientific community calls “completely idiotic” about spoilers. It personally turns me off intensely to bring up having gone to see a movie in the theaters and instead of an excited “Oh, cool, did you have fun?” I’m met with a panicked “Don’t spoil anything!”. Like, my dude, if your movie or game is completely scuttled because the post-credits stinger was “spoiled” for you, maybe the movie sucks? We all know how The Hunt for Red October shakes down, and it’s still a good movie. I think your game has problems if it’s not fun anymore because a trailer explained how the combat works.

Now, I get it: I grew up not being able to consume a lot of media on my own terms because I was in the boonies and I didn’t have a bookstore anywhere near me. I basically watched all of Death Note by osmosis: people screaming at the top of their lungs about the latest development on GaiaOnline is how I know what goes down in that series. And I get it, people intentionally trying to ruin a suspenseful film is pretty assholish. But man, people are gonna wanna talk about a game. Even now, people are hotly anticipating Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and while I’m not gonna tell anyone “sucks to be you” if they didn’t no-life the game on Day One to find out Bingo and Toghopper are the Guv’nah, Innit (because I am that bitch who took over a year to beat both Xenoblades—each), I will say it feels so trite to have this kind of message out. Now, the Digimon account is better about this than most and is giving folks a hashtag they can use to talk about spoilers. I appreciate that, they’re not issuing a blanket call to silence any potential criticism or anything dumb like that. But I’m looking forward to when the way we engage with media changes so that raw novelty isn’t what is prioritized over the overall experience. I knew from the get-go that Aerith was going to die in Final Fantasy VII, it didn’t make the game any less poignant or important. “Enjoy the water, not the fish”, is what I’m saying. Not that I’m gonna be a jerk about it: I’m not gonna go out of my way to scream about Bingo and Toghopper stealing the Clow Cards to pawn them off so they can pay for Joey’s sister’s eye-surgery, but it would be nice if “No spoilers!” got replaced with “I hope you had fun!”.

Let’s wrap up with some quick tidbits:

  • We have a new Tekken anime out soon! Tekken: Bloodlines will be out this August 18th on Netflix.
  • No More Heroes III is due out for the PS4/PS5/Xbox family this October 11th—or October 14th if you’re in Europe.
  • Konami has a new deal with the World Baseball Softball Confederation to produce a new baseball game. I’m as surprised as you are that Konami is making a new sports game.
  • SNK has released a trailer for the newest additions to King of Fighters XV: Team Awakened Orochi are now available for use, including Orochi Chris and Orochi Yashiro—but most importantly Orochi Shermie.
  • Dragon Ball Breakers has a release date: October 11th for Japan, October 14th everywhere else
  • Bright Memory: Infinite released early this week! It’s a short game and apparently made by one person, but it looks pretty amazing. It’s out on Switch, probably a good thing to fool around with when you need a break from Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

And that’s this week down. Between you and me, I don’t know how I manage to keep finding so much to say every week, so I hope you guys forgive my navel-gazing. The floor is yours to respond: who are your favorite new characters in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and why are they Bingo and Toghopper? Are you guys as sure as I am that we’ll get Pyra or Mythra rep in the game through the DLC? Did you play the original Tactics Ogre or One? (Ooh, what about Ogre Battle? I’ve always been interested in that one.) Are you looking forward to Resident Evil Village and getting your hands on Lady Dimitrescu? Have at it. Be good to each other, I’ll see you guys in seven.

This Week In Games! is written from idyllic Portland by Jean-Karlo Lemus. When not collaborating with AnimeNewsNetwork, Jean-Karlo can be found playing JRPGs, eating popcorn, watching v-tubers and tokusatsu, and trying as hard as he can to be as inconspicuous as possible on his twitter @mouse_inhouse.

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