What's going on this month (and a bit of last month) in the world of turn based tactics games and MJ commentary? Even if the world ends (man-made or otherwise), we'll still have some great tactics games to play in the meantime! And I'm as opinionated as ever.
04/05 [PSP] [JP] [P]  2nd Super Robot Wars Z Saisei-hen
New 2nd Super Robot Wars Z Saisei-hen Screenshots.
First 2nd Super Robot Wars Z Saisei-hen Trailer: Saisei-hen will almost certainly take the crown of best 2D graphics on the PSP.
Clear Bonuses Revealed: You'll get clear bonuses for completing 2nd SRW Z Hakai-hen up to 10 times, and another bonus for completing every Hakai-hen scenario. Hakai-hen was already pretty easy, so Saisei-hen with clear bonuses might be one of the easiest SRWs since MX. It's sad to see the series move so far in the direction of fanservice and flashy graphics, though. Even most SRW fans, most of whom play SRW for its fanservice value, though MX was too easy.
Fall [PC] [NA]  X-COM: Enemy Unknown
Gameplay Preview at Gameinformer: Looks like they'll be paring down the unnecessary cruft (Line of sight checks, awful default accuracy, etc.) and making a more streamlined tactics game that is more X-Com in spirit than in mechanics. That's fine with me, as I don't have some sort of ignorant, irrational adherence to the original game and all its design, balance, bug, and UI issues. Now if only people who are obsessed with a singular tactics game or series (FFT, TO, X-Com, Fire Emblem, etc.) would broaden their horizons a bit.
X-Com: Enemy Unknown Gameplay Preview #2.
Interview with Julian Gollop over X-Com. He's apparently not involved in the project, not even as a play tester or to offer feedback. I have a feeling they'll invite him to play the game and give feedback, at least.
04/19 [3DS] [JP] [P]  Fire Emblem: Kakusei / Fire Emblem: Awakening
New gameplay details. My Unit, Casual Mode, and multiple difficulties are making a return to Fire Emblem. Most of these features were introduced in Fire Emblem: Heroes of Light and Shadow, which was sadly not localized for NA. Lunatic difficulty mode is back, but no mention of Lunatic Reverse. Since FE: Awakening is a more open ended, RPG-like game with free battles, it will need an accurate scoring system to avoid trivializing its strategic difficulty. FE: Heroes of Shadow and Light had a decent scoring system, but I was disappointed that it only stopped at "A" rank, which was rather easy to achieve. Also, the downloadable Rainbow Potion significantly reduced its difficulty and I have a feeling they'll be adding more such items to FE: Awakening, not less, given how they're going to use it as a DLC guinea pig.
I'm fairly confident that FE: Awakening will be localized. It plays closer to Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones, which was chosen as one of the 3DS Ambassador games. The overworld map, class branching, customizable skills, and other RPG-like features such as free battles and grinding seems to be more popular with NA gamers, and I think Nintendo is giving the series one last try in NA. On the other hand, thanks to the 3DS region locks and lack of a 3DS emulator, this will likely be the least played Fire Emblem import in a long time. I'm still considering importing a Japanese 3DS, but it's expensive. If you want more Fire Emblem: Awakening details, check this Serenesforest link.
02/28 [DS] [NA] [P1] [P2]   Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2
New Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 trailer.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 screenshots.
04/17 [Vita] [NA] [P1] [P2]  Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention
New Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention Trailer: Do you like that prinny voice acting, dood? This trailer promises 10 million hours of "game time", but I'm pretty sure my graphing calculator has Disgaea beat. I guarantee you Disgaea 4 will make its way to Vita eventually.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention Screenshots.
Long after Japanese developers have mostly abandoned tactics games in NA, indie iPhone developers are still producing decent or even great tactics games.
Toucharcade review of Time of Heroes, an iPhone tactics game.
Toucharcade review of 100 Trials, an iPhone tactics game.
Toucharcade review of Dungeon Crawlers, an iPhone tactics game.
Toucharcade review of Hero Academy, an iPhone tactics game.
Civilization V Gods and Kings Expansion Pack Announced.
You'll be able to transfer most downloadable PSP tactics games from the PSN to your Vita.
Phantom Brave Goes Online With Browser Based Game. Trailer.
Pokemon + Nobunaga's Ambition Official Trailer
Pokémon + Nobunaga’s Ambition Extended With Free Downloadable Episodes
Similar to protein folding games, scientists have developed new games based on tracing the neural pathways of the brain.
Determining the mathematical type of complexity of a game or game system or set of game rules.
What else have I been doing aside from inadvertently making people angry on gaming forums? Mostly playing through Super Robot Wars 64. It's a big game with over 100 scenarios. It plays a lot like the older PS and SFC Winkysoft developed SRWs, and tends to be more difficult than your average modern SRW. You can check out my guide's progress here.