Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 2012 News and Commentary #2

Capcom, Sega, and Namco Bandai are pooling their IP in a tactics game crossover called Project X Zone for the 3DS. The developer is very likely to be Monolith Soft, who previously created the PS2 crossover tactics game Namco x Capcom.Namco X Capcom suffered from extremely long battles because the player had to play a mini-game for each encounter on the grid, and levels often included dozens of low level enemies.

Monolith Soft also worked on Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Exceed. If you've played Super Robot Taisen OG Saga, you can expect the fighting mini-games in Project X Zone to play a lot like that. I'm surprised they didn't get one of their main Super Robot Wars teams to work on Project X Zone, but hopefully the devs have learned from their mistakes. Here are some screenshots and a dev interview. And one more time, the 3DS region lock sucks ass.

Fire Emblem: Awakening is out now. A few impressions are trickling in but nothing earth shattering yet. I personally think it's a bad direction to take the series with all the RPG elements and dating sim/marriage/making kids stuff. As expected, it's very similar to FE: Sacred Stones. It'll probably sell more, but they're giving up on some things that made FE stand out. I'd be surprised if there was a scoring system at all.

Other news:

X-Com Dev interview.
Another X-Com interview. Not really interested in picking out the nonsensical statements by the devs this time around.

New trailer for Skulls of the Shogun. Look forward to a new preview as E3 approaches.

New trailer for Pokemon Conquest (aka Pokemon x Nobunaga).

Gundam is invading Android phones with SD Gundam G Generation Mobile for Android. I really dislike cell phone games as you need to live in the right location with the right carrier and have an active cell phone plan just to play most of them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 2012 News and Commentary

Time for a monthly update.

Xenonauts, the tactics game inspired by X-Com, continues to progress through the alpha stage. Much like the original there's a detailed encyclopedia of units and a research lab. They've made some good graphical progress and are offering the latest build to anyone who pre-orders.

Slitherine Games Battlefield Academy is available for iPad. It's an accessible WW2 war sim with a lengthy campaign, multiplayer, and lively graphics for the genre. If you like your tactics games realistic and gritty, give it a look.

Development houses Idea Factory and Sting are merging or something like that. So now we can have shamefully perverse dating sim elements, tons of grinding, and poor coding mixed with bizarrely shaped and difficult to read UIs and byzantine game systems. I kid, but I don't think this merger is going to be good for either company. There's just too many stark differences in game style for any common ground to be reached, at least not one that will result in games most will want to play.

The recent Pokemon x Nobunaga for DS is being localized for NA on 6/18/2012. But I'll still have nothing to do with Pokemon. Sorry, kids.

Some unexpectedly good news from X-Com: Enemy Unknown. Apparently the PC version will have modding support. The PC version will also get its own UI, which is good news considering how obnoxiously console-ized and limited PC game controls have become. To what extent we'll be able to mod the new X-Com I'm not sure, but some modding support is better than none. Given the blindly zealous and obsessed fan community (only rivaled by the FFT/TO camp), you can be sure of two mods: One to make it as much like the original X-Com as possible, and one to alter damage values so both your units and your enemies die in 1-2 hits in the name of "realism". Yes, those so called "realism" mods where everything dies to a single bullet or attack are so "realistic". Now where'd I put my quickload button?

Sega trademarks Valkyria Duel. This obviously means they are turning the Valkyria Chronicles series into a gritty FPS with online passes, day 1 DLC, always-on DRM, and microtransactions. I guess that whole turn based tactics thing didn't work out for them.

Here's an article on using brute force computation to solve the "King's Gambit" chess problem. Theoretically you could analyze just about any tactics game or video game with the right algorithm to explore all possible valid game states for any given goal. Difficulty is a measure of effort based on a measurable skill or skills. if luck is mixed in then you can factor in how much luck is involved based on the goal, and come up with a probability of success. This is also why a game's difficulty and complexity given a stated goal are factual measurements and not up for subjective debate. The only subjective or opinionated part of difficulty is how any particular player perceives it. Unfortunately, the difference between fact and opinion continues to elude some people.

04/19 [3DS] [JP] [P] [1] [2] Fire Emblem: Kakusei / Fire Emblem: Awakening
Quite a lot of content and news being pushed out ahead of the latest Fire Emblem's release.

New screenshots.

Dual system and class changes info.

So two new trailers, screenshots, lots of info. Nintendo decides to take a turn for the worse and allow your My Unit to marry other characters in your army. I thought this sort of stuff was supposed to be limited to creepy dating sims. Due to the region lock and expense of importing a Japanese 3DS, I won't be playing the Japanese version this time around.

Besides that, this newest Fire Emblem isn't shaping up the way I would have liked. It's a lot like Sacred Stones, which is more of a FFT/TO style RPG than a traditional tactics game, it's got an unknown amount of paid DLC, and now you've got dating sim elements creeping in. I'm surprised they even kept Lunatic difficulty in, considering it looks wholly aimed at casual RPGamers and dating sim "fans". I'd be surprised if there was an end of game scoring system as well.

04/05 [PSP] [JP] [P] [1] 2nd Super Robot Wars Z Saisei-hen

New screenshots.

2nd Super Robot Wars Z Saisei-hen has already leaked to the internet. My order is still being processed at play-asia, so I likely won't have it for a while unless I buy it off the PSN. Preliminary reports state that it's another good super robot wars game. A bit on the easy side, especially with all the carryover bonuses, overpowered pilot skills, cheap upgrades, etc. but the campaign is fun. Some of the battle animations are so over the top you'll wonder if the world just ended in some of them. I'll be recording my playthrough of Z2-2 and writing a review, so look forward to that.