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Videogame Releases: Week of July 14th, 2013

At first glance, this week may look like a summer lull for videogames. However, further inspection reveals the first installment in over a decade for one of the all-time great Japanese RPGs. And that’s just one of several intriguing titles that hit the streets this week.

Dynasty Warriors 8 (360, PS3)

To consider ‘Dynasty Warriors 8‘, I have to flash back to the first year of the PS2. ‘Dynasty Warriors 2′ was truly a next-gen game. The combination of epic battles and invigorating, button mashing-combat with the saga of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms made for an incredible game that we hadn’t seen the likes of in the previous generation.

These days, Koei has taken that formula and applied it to a number of franchises, including ‘Samurai Warriors’ and ‘Gundam’. The problem is that, as much as the formula gets tweaked, the games remain the same. Basically, you try to get through each battle by defeating the boss without dying or missing an important victory condition, and while trying to unlock all characters, weapons, etc. Still, if you’ve been away for a few years or have never tried one of these games, you’re missing out. Nothing else stacks up to the magnificence of taking on thousands of soldiers in the varied and intense battles of ‘Dynasty Warriors’. Plus, how often can you try the eighth installment of a game series without having to worry that you’ve missed out on the story of the prior installments?

Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)

After more than a decade, the inconceivable has happened – there’s a new ‘Shin Megami Tensei’ game, and it isn’t a spin-off. What we can expect from ‘Shin Megami Tensei IV‘ is a Japan fraught with demons. Naturally, people attempt to control demons, but are often in fact controlled by those demons. Unlike the incredibly popular ‘Persona’ series, this is not a game about a high school, which raises my interest level. That said, the game is supposed to be incredibly brutal, with your party frequently wiping out. Anyone who might be interested in a brutal JRPG on the 3DS should step right up, especially with a $30 eShop bonus for owners of this game and the recent ‘Fire Emblem’.

Time and Eternity (PS3)

In the action RPG ‘Time and Eternity‘, Toki is all set to get married when, on the day of her wedding, her betrothed is attacked and killed by ninjas. This event incites Toki to utilize her time-traveling, gun-toting and knife-wielding ways. Playing as Toki, players will be treated to hand-animated characters, which may be the biggest draw. In addition to her knife and gun, Toki contains the spirit of Towa, who is the closest thing to another playable character. My interest level for this game is fairly weak, as it seems mired in some unimpressive anime tropes. Nevertheless, I appreciate that the title was brought over to the U.S., even if it took a year for that happen.

Turbo: Super Stunt Squad (360, PS3, Wii U, Wii, 3DS, DS)

The nicest thing that I can say about Ryan Reynolds is that he’s annoying. Way to go, Green Lantern. ‘Turbo: Super Stunt Squad‘ is the tie-in game for DreamWorks’ cute snail movie, ‘Turbo’. Rather than illustrate how basic the multiplatform game seems to be, I think I’ll just wish that the SNES classic ‘Uniracers’/’Unirally’ had been better recognized, and was due for a Virtual Console release.

9 comments

  1. William Henley

    I’ve played demos of a couple of Dynasty Warriors games. Never really been that impressed. Beautiful eye candy, but I found the mechanics of the games to be lacking.

    • A demo just can’t do the game’s story justice, and yet one problem with the games is quantity vs quality.

      There needs to be a mode focused more on presentation to draw new players in, as well as people who are not trying to get 150 hrs out of the game.

      It’s sort of like how the new ‘GTA’ will begin with the whole world open, instead of insisting that it be unlocked. They know that people who play there games don’t even come close to finishing the story missions. ‘Dynasty Warriors’ needs some battles designed to captivate players unfamiliar with the game. Unfortunately, I would guess that they are already working on a ‘Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends.’

      • William Henley

        I’ve actually jumped off the bandwagon on a couple of franchises – most notably, Final Fantasy. Huge fan of Final Fantasy’s 1-9 (yes, even liked 8). Then X came out, followed by XI and X-2. Blah! Then I heard about Deirge of Cerberus (sp) and was like COOL, a sequel to 7. And it sucked. I borrowed 13 from my brother, and played for maybe an hour. Was bored stiff.

        I switched to Fable and the Tales franchise. Obviously someone likes the new FFs, they are selling well. My biggest issue with the FF series is that you have to relearn a new system with each new game, and the learning curve is steep.

        Where was I going with this?

        My issue with Dynasty Warriors is that it doesn’t play like either an RPG, an Adventure game, or an Action game, but rather tried to combine the three, and I don’t care for the outcome. The fact that there are 8 in the series says that someone must like them, but I just don’t care for them. At least, not from the demos.

        • I think FF 7 and 8 were the downfall of the series. A combination of character design and lengthy in-battle camera cuts/casting animations killed most of made the series great up to that point. By the time the series got to X, XII, and XIII it was impossible to take most the characters remotely seriously. The shame is that each installment is the chance to create a new imaginative world, but it usually falls victim to characters like Wakka.

          • Really? I never played any FF, but I always read/heard that FFVII was the absolute best game ever? The PlayStation’s Ocarina Of Time?

          • William Henley

            FF7 was plauged by tons of cutscenes. It had a great story, though, which is why people loved it. Gameplay wise, it was probably one of the weakest up until it got to 10, but story wise, probably had the best story outside of 4.

            Final Fantasy 8 went with more realistic characters and enviornments, was the first game to go with realistic characters and enviornments, which is what took many people out of the game. That was pretty much the standard from Final Fantasy 10 onward. The game also changed play mechanics around just enough to frustrate long-time fans of the series.

            Final Fantasy 9 is my alltime favorite. It was like they went back to their roots in story, characters and world, but with the Playstation 3D graphics (in fact, this game looks incredible in an emulator upresing it to HD resolutions).

            After 9, the Final Fantasy series kinda went with that combination RPG / Action / Adventure game (kinda like what the Dynasty Warrior series is). I think really your hardcore fanboys are the only ones that are going to like both the old games and the new games. Most of the older Final Fantasy fans (if they still game) have pretty much changed over to the Tales series or Fable (Eternal Sonotra was also good). The Tales series and Eternal Sonotra is more like your oldschool Final Fantasy games, whereas Fable is your classic adventure game.

            Taking an RPG or Adventrue game concept and turning it into a button masheer (which is pretty much what Dynasy Warriors is, in my opinion) doesn’t settle well with many people. Like I said, it must have an audience if they are on their eigth installment, I just don’t know anyone personally who cares for the series. I don’t know of anyone who would call the series bad, rather just say that it isn’t our cup of tea.

          • Brian Hoss
            Author

            Ocarina of Time is, among other things, a 3D version of the original ‘Legend of Zelda.’ The closest game to that 3D realization that I know of is ‘Metroid Prime.’ FFIX is closer to the NES era FFs, but not to anything like the extent that Ocarina of Time is to the original title

  2. Matt

    FF 7 was a great game. 8 was pleasantly different and 9 was more of a return to the roots, but I wasn’t nearly as compelled by it. 10 took FF mainstream and that’s what a lot of the diehards didn’t like, though I thought it was a ton of fun. It was more of a big-budget, AAA title like the gaming world is swallowed up with today. Never played 11. 12 was alright, I guess, but one of the weakest up to that point. I couldn’t care less about the story. 13 had it’s moments, but was a major stray from the path.

    I’ve been playing SMT 4 today and last night and am enjoying it so far, though it is fairly brutal. I might drop the difficulty. The 3D looks great.

    • Brian Hoss
      Author

      I hear what you guys are saying about realistic character design for FFVIII and FFX, but for me it doesn’t work. It didn’t work in ‘The Bouncer,’ and it’s my least favorite part of ‘Kingdom Hearts.’

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