Thursday, June 17, 2010
There were three big pieces of SRPG news to come out of E3 2010. Atlus has announced a NA port of Knights in the Nightmare for PSP with a release date of October 19, 2010. This SRPG is a little unusual with some realtime elements like bullet dodging, but it's a fantastic and creative game. If you have any love for the genre you'll enjoy learning and mastering what Knights has to offer. If anything, you should buy it so I don't end up weeping at the sight of a bunch of good Atlus titles in the bargain bins next to the shovelware and yearly sports titles. Just do it!
Valkyria Chronicles 2 has an official release date of August 31, 2010. Sega has taken the title portable, cutting the big battlefields into smaller segments. The game is aimed at a younger audience and the main campaign is apparently quite easy. According to a developer interview, the PSP was chosen not only for portability but also for multiplayer, which is new to the series. There are a lot more customization options available, but it remains to be seen how balanced they are, or how much of it is utilized by the mission content. I'm probably going to write a video guide for VC2 like I did with the original, so look forward to that.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions has been announced for the iPhone/iPod Touch with a release date of September 15, 2010. This is one of the most popular SRPGs in NA, with a frenzied Final Fantasy fanbase that still obsesses over the game to this day, even going so far as to hack and modify the game files to make it more challenging or balanced. The PSP version suffered some lag and load time issues that I'd assume an iPhone 4 or iPod Touch 3rd gen would avoid, in part because the data will be stored on the phones flash memory and not accessed from a disc. FFT is a decent game but suffers from slow pacing, many overpowered and imbalanced classes/characters, and general lack of difficulty. I doubt this version will do any balancing, but it proves Square is serious about the iPhone/iPad Touch as a games platform.
One last tactical game at the show was Magic: The Gathering Tactics for PS3 and PC. This is an online multiplayer game that's free to play with purchasable card decks. Each player has a summoner that uses cards to summon their creatures, and if the summoner dies the game ends. Like any card based microtransaction game don't expect to compete without spending some coin. This game was only being shown off behind closed doors at E3 2010, so there's not much news about it. You can read some impressions here and here.
Finally I'll talk a bit about Civilization V, which was revealed at E3 2010. According to a developer interview, they have revamped the tactical level combat with inspiration by games like SSI's Panzer Tactics. That's on top of all the strategic level diplomacy, nation building, resource control, etc. If they can successfully merge quality tactical combat with the strategic level play Civ is known for, it could be a standout title for any kind of strategy fan. The screenshot here shows off some of the tactical or operational level combat that will be taking place.
I didn't see any news regarding Skulls of the Shogun, but don't give up hope yet. It looks like a fun title that should do well on Xbox Live Arcade.
There was a new trailer released for Disciples III: Renaissance, although the game wasn't being shown at E3 2010. This is an RPG where combat takes place on a tactical level turn based grid.
3 SRPGs were announced in Japan around the time of E3 2010, coincidence or not. Fire Emblem 3 DS, Blue Roses (PSP), and Agarest Senki 2 (PS3). These were not at the show and there's no news regarding a NA release for any of them. Fire Emblem 3 DS is pretty much a given, while the other two I'm not so sure about. NIS is publishing Blue Roses in Japan and given their pro-NA stance I'd say there's a good chance Blue Roses will see a NA release. Agarest Senki 2 may also see release by Aksys, although it may be DLC only on the PS3.