Jrpg Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Jrpg RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore Review — Same Song and Dance https://www.gameskinny.com/q2frx/tokyo-mirage-sessions-fe-encore-review-same-song-and-dance https://www.gameskinny.com/q2frx/tokyo-mirage-sessions-fe-encore-review-same-song-and-dance Mon, 27 Jan 2020 15:13:56 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Un like its handheld counterpart, the Wii U didn't have many RPGs to its name. The 3DS had powerhouses like Fire Emblem: Awakening and hardcore niche titles like Shin Megami Tensei 4, among others in the SMT franchise. Then something changed. Atlus and Nintendo announced a project long in the works that brought both series together, Tokyo Mirage Sessions.

A few years later, the Wii U was officially dead, and the Nintendo Switch started getting most of its predecessor's big-name titles. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is the latest in the line of Wii U-to-Switch ports, but how does it hold up now that Nintendo fans are desperate for console-style RPGs?

If we're honest? Not too great. 

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore Review — Same Song and Dance

A good RPG needs at least one of three things: compelling story and/or characters, satisfying combat, or an engaging gameplay gimmick/loop. Tokyo Mirage Sessions only has one of those, and it's not the story and characters.

Hatsune Miku will not be pleased

You play as Itsuki Aoi, a young high school student unsure what he wants to do with his future. He's bland and inoffensive, but he truly cares for his childhood friend Tsubasa Oribe. She's the real star here, literally and from a narrative perspective. Tsubasa wants to be an idol for a few reasons, some personal and some just because it's fun to wear outlandish clothes and perform in front of adoring audiences.

And that's basically the story, with a sprinkling of family drama and (very) light commentary on the cruelties and corruption of idol culture. There's a bigger arc involving the end of the world and sucking people's performance creativity from them, but it isn't all that interesting.That's okay. Not every story has to be incredibly deep or insightful, and the bigger draw is obviously supposed to the wild setting. However, it's not enough to really make TMS shine.

There's a handful of additional playable characters and some support characters, but you've probably seen all of them before. The group mom/entertainment company manager is a boozing, large-breasted 20-something, the music teacher is a large, goofy fanboy, and so on.

Like the story, that's not always bad. Tropes can be entertaining and comfortable on their own if they're carried out well. In Tokyo Mirage Sessions, though, there's surprisingly little character interaction to help pull this off. Story beats move incredibly fast, and there's no Persona or Fire Emblem-style bonding moment between friends and colleagues.

You do unlock Side Stories as you raise each character's Stage Rank, but these pretty much just reinforce how shallow the setup is, i.e.  fighting extremely low-level enemies to help a friend feel like a hero or bouncing from point to point on the map until you find a lost cat. What you're left with is the feeling there should be something more, something that shows the friendship between the actual friends, the growth of trust between colleagues — something. Anything.

This dearth of interaction and reliance on single-layer tropes works okay for Shin Megami Tensei 4 because you still get the complex alignment system. Without that or anything to help make you care about what's going on, Tokyo Mirage Sessions is just okay.

The Fire Emblem inclusion is a bit confusing as well. If you've played Shadow Dragon or Awakening, you'll already know what the antagonists' endgame is, but it just seems a bit... unnecessary?

There's no real tension between the foes and heroes and equally little interaction. Even more disappointing is how that extends to your Mirages. They're rehabilitated Mirages saved from the grip of darkness, and they're famous Fire Emblem heroes like Caeda and Chrom. 

That means they're supposed to represent some inner portion of the hero they assist, except... they sorta don't. Again, there isn't enough interaction between characters to really drive home that relationship.

So, the story and characters are serviceable, but not really great. That leaves the combat — which is pretty good. It borrows from both Shin Megami Tensei's general setup and Fire Emblem's weapon weaknesses, with a key twist on SMT's Press-Turn System.

In SMT, if you exploit an enemy's weakness, you get one or more additional actions. In TMS, you don't. What you do get after the tutorials is a Session attack, which links with another party member's skill to deal additional damage.

The options for Sessions vary depending on what skill you use and what support skills other characters have available, but chaining Sessions and dealing additional damage is key to victory — or defeat. Your enemies get Session attacks too, and on Hard mode, it's easy to get overwhelmed before you know it. Easy and Normal don't present much challenge, though.

You drive a regular horse? Ha. Hold my Amrita Soda.

Should you find you're having trouble on Hard mode, Encore includes the Bloom Palace Idolasphere (which was DLC for the original) that lets you farm items granting more experience or special items. It's great for minimizing the level grind, but in moderation. Go up an additional three or four levels, and there's suddenly no challenge for a while.

You get Performance attacks as well, which are flashy and powerful attacks that open up once you fill your special meter. Ad-Lib performances grant special bonuses after you unlock them through Side Stories.

You don't swap out Mirages in TMS, but you can create new weapons, called Carnage, through Unity. It's like Fusion in Persona and SMT, but more basic. There's much less give-and-take when creating a new Carnage. The only thing you need to consider is which skills might be most useful, and you also get many more skill slots than in SMT.

Having said that, combat and Unity do take a while to get going. It's not until Chapter 2 when your options really open up, and you can take advantage of wider skillsets and more characters. For the first five or so hours, though, it's easy to start getting a bit bored with what's on offer, not least because there are so many Mirage encounters in each dungeon.

That leaves gameplay gimmicks and loops, which are, unfortunately, a bit of a letdown. The story is divided into chapters, with intermissions that offer some free time. There's not a whole lot to do during this free time other than some rather boring side quests and then the Side Stories. However, it does offer a nice break where you can get your gear in order for the next main dungeon.

Dungeons are okay in TMS. They're fairly basic overall, but they do end up feeling tedious thanks to their overly-lengthy size and a plethora of basic puzzles to deal with. You'll revisit some of them for side quests, too, if you decide to take them on, which — like Persona 3 and Persona 4 — means you'll be sick of them before too long.

The user interface and map systems are pretty obnoxious. Apart from tiny text syndrome, they suffer from unwieldy and counterintuitive controls, a drawback from having the Topic system (your phone, basically) as a menu instead of on the Wii U Game Pad. The font color and style make it hard to read even aside from size, since it's white superimposed on light backgrounds.

There are some well done anime cutscenes in the game, and a few catchy tunes like Reincarnation. However, the overall presentation and the soundtrack are much flatter and more mundane than you'd expect from a game about idol culture and the energizing power of music. Even the battle theme remix is low-key and easily forgettable.

Finally is the Encore factor, which isn't much. Outside the advertised new songs and included DLC, you get NPCs like Barry and Tiki joining in for Sessions. It's a fun addition, but if you already played the Wii U version and aren't dying to play the game again in portable mode, just know it doesn't add anything really substantial over the original.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore: The Bottom Line

Pros
  • Unique setting and premise
  • Fun combat and combat mechanics
  • Good, light fanservice for SMT and Fire Emblem fans
  • Accessible RPG for newcomers
Cons
  • Forgettable story and soundtrack
  • Not much character interaction
  • Crummy UI
  • Not much point in the mashup
  • Tedious dungeons

Overall, Tokyo Mirage Sessions feels like a missed opportunity, and the Encore version even more so. The makings for something really great and unique are here, but in trying to be so many things at once, it ultimately doesn't manage to be anything in particular.

A remake or port seems like the ideal way to add some extra meat to the game, shoring up its weak points and trying to build on its strengths. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

There are definitely better RPGs on the Switch. If you don't mind the negatives, though, you've got a solid B-tier RPG with a premise you won't find anywhere else and an excellent combat system.

[Note: A copy of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore was provided by Nintendo for the purpose of this review.]

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New Kingdom Hearts Mobile Game Announced, Coming Soon https://www.gameskinny.com/kbrvm/new-kingdom-hearts-mobile-game-announced-coming-soon https://www.gameskinny.com/kbrvm/new-kingdom-hearts-mobile-game-announced-coming-soon Thu, 23 Jan 2020 13:12:51 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Kingdom Hearts: Re:Mind just launched, and we've already got news of another Kingdom Hearts game on the way. This time, it's a mobile-and-Amazon game, codenamed Project Xehanort. It is set for a release sometime in spring 2020, and will be available on iOS, Android, and Amazon.

The news comes from the official Project Xehanort Twitter account, which gives very little indication of what we can expect from the title. There's a shot of young Xehanort holding a chess piece, referencing the opening sequences of Kingdom Hearts 3, and... that's about it.

The game's slot on the Kingdom Hearts website provides a tiny bit more detail, saying the new title will explore why Xehanort became a seeker of darkness. Sounds a bit like Maleficent if we're being honest. However, since it's Kingdom Hearts, with all the twisting lore that entails, we can probably expect a lot more depth to the story than that.

There's also a name guessing competition running until January 28 at 6:59 p.m. PST/9:59 p.m. EST. Entrants can guess what they think the game's official title will be, using two hints Square Enix provided: it's two words and contains eight letters.

The site has more details, but you can enter on Twitter.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Kingdom Hearts and Project Xehanort news, and look forward to our Kingdom Hearts: Re:Mind review soon.

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky DX Review — Come Sail Away https://www.gameskinny.com/aw51s/atelier-escha-logy-alchemists-of-the-dusk-sky-dx-review-come-sail-away https://www.gameskinny.com/aw51s/atelier-escha-logy-alchemists-of-the-dusk-sky-dx-review-come-sail-away Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:52:19 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Koei Tecmo recently released the Atelier Dusk Trilogy, and we're breaking down our impressions of each entry in the collection. This review focuses on Atelier Escha & Logy, but be sure to can check out our Atelier Ayesha DX and Atelier Shallie DX reviews too.

If Atelier Ayesha was inspired by Atelier Totori before it, then Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is based solidly on Atelier Rorona. As the title and opening movie show, it follows the story of two alchemists, Escha Mallier, the pink-haired one with a tail (??), and Logix Fiscario, the silent swordsman.

Their combined stories are a first for the series in more ways than one. Not only do you choose your protagonist, but their stories are actually intertwined with a more traditional RPG narrative that, while not on par with many others in the genre, is still quite good on its own.

It builds on a lot of what makes Atelier Ayesha so enjoyable, while adding even more refinements to the system and deftly reintroducing things like stricter time limits to make what's easily the best title in the trilogy despite some shortcomings.

Atelier Escha & Logy DX Review — Come Sail Away

The game takes place mostly in the town of Colseit, a frontier village struggling to hold on to its identity — and government funding — through aiding in ruins exploration.

Though the overall narrative arc focuses on the mysteries of these ruins and goes deeper into the problems plaguing the world, the specifics differ slightly depending on which character you choose. I chose Logix (Logy, for short) just for a change of pace. He's an alchemist from the metropolis of Central City sent to the boonies of Colseit for reasons he keeps to himself.

You'll be using both synthesis skills to take on tasks both for the R&D department and the government in general. These run the gamut from repairing windmills to exploring new areas, locating lost explorers, and pretty much everything in between. However, this time around, you're back to having a time limit for story tasks. You get four months for each task, which is more than enough — entirely on purpose.

After you complete your main tasks, assuming you have time left over, you enter Free Time. This is where you're, well, free to do whatever. And there's plenty to do.

You get a card each month, with your main task in the middle and multiple side tasks spread out around it, sort of like Rorona but more aesthetically pleasing and with greater purpose.

These cards unlock as you meet certain requirements or finish nearby tasks, and should you complete the inner nine and outer ring of tasks, you'll be rewarded with stat boosts, rare items, or even better, alchemy books. A lot of these require things like gathering, traveling, synthesizing, or combat, which all take in-game time, so the additional leeway granted through the extra month is greatly appreciated here.

On top of those, you'll be picking up requests from Solle, the government agent in town. These are the usual "destroy monster X" or "make thing Y" tasks, but completing them gives you more than just a paltry reward. You'll earn rank points for every task completed, and as your rank goes up, your monthly stipend increases and you get access to better items and rewards.
 

Though Escha & Logy doesn't feel as open and "I'm on a grand adventure" as Ayesha, it more than makes up for that feeling with a huge number of tightly interconnected systems that always reward you for taking the time to explore and complete them. That's not to say the story isn't rewarding, though; it still builds to a satisfying crescendo that starts tying some of the plot threads from Ayesha together.

One huge improvement is how the game handles what it dubs Adventure Items. These are things like healing and attack items you use all the time and typically spend time and items to routinely make. Not anymore.

The R&D department has access to a group of homunculi (it's a thing) that supply adventure items you register. Every time you come back to town, voila: you've got a new supply of bombs, crafts, salves, and whatever you were able to register (depending on your rank). It sounds simple, but it's a huge time saver and cuts down on a lot of drudgery.

While Logy isn't the most developed character in the series, both he and Escha have distinct personalities and stand out more than Ayesha does. The interaction between the two is also enjoyable. It's not deep, but the two learning from and helping each other is definitely cozy and warmhearted. It's something the Dusk trilogy does much better than Arland, which had a rather unpleasant tendency to mix "friendship" with "treating the girl like a complete idiot and insulting her." 

The writing is still a bit iffy in places, though it seems to smooth out as the game progresses  — even if some areas do seem too literal again. One curious thing is that some terms from Ayesha are changed, so I'm guessing a different editor worked on this one and Shallie. The voice acting is much better this time around too, with Logy being the only somewhat bland one in the bunch.

Combat takes one step back from Ayesha by removing the movement-based attack bonuses, even though it leaves "move" as an option. However, it takes a few steps forward in other ways. The pacing is faster, and your alchemists both get the ability to use items and special skills. Support guards and attacks make a return, only this time, support guards don't use much from your assist meter.

That's good, because you'll be relying on them a lot. Combat in Escha & Logy is a very satisfying affair, with a good mix of simple and difficult battles available right from the start and a variety of different options to keep it from ever seeming stale.

Synthesis is largely the same, with even more emphasis placed on special alchemy skills. You have different options available depending on the item type and its attributes and elemental affiliations. Some skills let you emphasize an elemental quality to get a different result, some reduce the Cost Points required to craft and thus let you create higher-level items, while others strengthen the existing traits.

Combined with the boost and order effects from Ayesha, plus the Imbue system for equipment, there's actually a lot going on in Escha & Logy's crafting. Fortunately, it's easy to understand thanks to simple tutorials and even easier once you start experimenting with it all.

Escha & Logy has more endings than Ayesha, because some of them are tied to specific protagonists. Between that, the customization options and variety of tasks available, plus the slight differences in each character's story, there's really a lot here to keep you a happy, busy little alchemist.

Atelier Escha & Logy DX: The Bottom Line

Pros
  • Expanded crafting system that's even more involved (and addictive)
  • Even better cast than Ayesha, with stronger protagonists
  • Excellent combat
  • A number of quality of life improvements
  • Tons of content
Cons
  • Still iffy writing
  • Worldbuilding could have been expanded more.

All in all, Atelier Escha & Logy DX is easily the best entry in the Dusk trilogy  With refined mechanics, better combat, and seriously compelling crafting systems, it even stands among the top entries in the Atelier series on whole. If you only pick up one title from this new trilogy collection, definitely consider making it Escha & Logy.

[Note: A copy of Atelier Dusk Trilogy was provided by Koei Tecmo for the purpose of this review.]

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX Review — Lighting Up the Dusk https://www.gameskinny.com/nkfkc/atelier-ayesha-the-alchemist-of-dusk-dx-review-lighting-up-the-dusk https://www.gameskinny.com/nkfkc/atelier-ayesha-the-alchemist-of-dusk-dx-review-lighting-up-the-dusk Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:48:42 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Koei Tecmo recently released the Atelier Dusk Trilogy, and we're breaking down our impressions of each entry in the collection. This review focuses on Atelier Ayesha, but be sure to can check out our Atelier Escha & Logy DX and Atelier Shallie DX reviews too.

Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk follows young apothecary — or pharmacist, depending on the localizer (more about that later) — Ayesha Altugle as she searches for her sister Nio. Of course, Nio isn't really dead. Ayesha can save her sister's spirit and bring her back to life with the power of alchemy.

Crafting items is a fairly simple premise that's surprisingly addictive, and silly as it might sound, the story actually works pretty well. Ayesha also improves a lot of things from the Arland trilogy that preceded it, though it does stumble in a few places.

Atelier Ayesha DX Review — Lighting Up the Dusk

If you're coming to this right after playing the Arland games, you'll probably notice Atelier Ayesha is set up much like Atelier Totori. The emphasis is on adventuring, as Ayesha learns about alchemy to uncover the secrets behind her sister's disappearance. The world map is, accordingly, gigantic, with tons of places to visit. These range from gathering spots, caves, fields, and mountains, to multiple — sometimes haunted — towns.

One hallmark of the Dusk trilogy is that the time limits are much more relaxed than those in the Arland games. You get three years to help Ayesha accomplish her mission, with some special traveling methods that cut down on time later.



There is a slight trade-off, though. Venturing to new areas within a specific spot — like a new screen in a cave series, for example — no longer takes multiple days. Instead, gathering items takes time. Initially, filching things from three gathering spots equates to an in-game day, though you do acquire skills later on that help reduce the amount of time gathering takes.

Strict time limits were a feature in previous games and added a sense of urgency to conceivably relaxed proceedings. Ayesha might handle time differently in many ways, but its laxity is actually a bit deceptive.

Because you don't have many reminders about urgent story quests, and because many side quests have loose time limits, it's easy to get caught up in other things and not advance the story. While you do have time to piddle away, it's still highly recommended you balance exploration, synthesis, and questing, lest you find you can't complete certain tasks, or that you might miss out on maximizing friendship levels with your co-adventurers.

The open-ended nature of Ayesha's journey and the relative freedom you get in completing tasks is a perfect complement to the game's story. Each new recipe learned or area explored feels like a sign of progress, which is very important in a game that could easily become too mundane to enjoy.

That said, the requirements for unlocking new areas could be a bit easier to find. They're stuffed in a menu full of other tasks, labeled as "Travel" tasks, both easy to miss and annoying to sift through.



Completing sidequests and requests is important for gaining memory points as well. These are a feature only in Ayesha and provide short journal entries, along with the more practical stat or skill enhancements. You'll gain memory points for other things as well, like exploring or gathering, and it's a very good incentive to do as much as possible when you can.

One other big change in Ayesha is the combat, which is some of the best in the series. It combines the support system introduced in Rorona with some interesting movement-based mechanics as well, where you get an attack boost if you're positioned behind an enemy.

Ayesha uses her staff and items, rather than special skills, so you'll definitely need to spend some time on crafting attack and healing items to make her useful. While it might make MP seem redundant, some higher-level items require MP.

And as the game wears on, you'll need higher-level items. Combat was sort of a throwaway thing in the Arland games unless you sought out high-level monsters, but Ayesha mixes in more dangerous foes with the usual fodder. That, combined with low-ish HP for most of your early-game characters, means even Normal mode offers some challenge.

Finally: synthesis. Ayesha and the Dusk trilogy, in general, give you a lot more freedom in synthesizing, while adding more components to play around with. Stacking traits was the biggest draw in the Arland games. Here, traits and effects change depending on the order you add each item, and you gain a wealth of different skills that can amplify or absorb effects for even greater benefits. Synthesizing in Ayesha is always a pleasure and never the chore something like making wax sticks for a village kid should be.



Despite the adventuring focus, Atelier Ayesha still has plenty of the slice-of-life elements the modern Atelier games are known for. It's not long before Ayesha gets joined by an eclectic bunch of friends and colleagues. They all have unique character and quest events unlocked as you raise their friendship levels, and you'll get different endings depending on how you manage your friendships and questing, among other things.

The only downside here is that these friends and companions tend to overshadow Ayesha herself. She's likeable, and she grows throughout the journey, but she's definitely not the strongest protagonist in the series. She doesn't get as much internal dialogue as other protagonists, so perhaps Gust thought the memory point entries were enough here — but they aren't.

It isn't helped by some rather iffy voice acting either, and that applies to the other cast. I don't like criticizing voice actors since they aren't always responsible for the outcome, but the English work here just doesn't fit the game most of the time. The script itself is often awkward too, with plenty of areas that seem like they were translated too literally, and it's a bit disappointing it didn't get cleaned up for the re-release. 

Something else that wasn't touched up for the re-release is the performance. Atelier Ayesha Plus on the Vita struggled in many of the bigger areas, and you'll still see stuttering framerates in the DX version.

Atelier Ayesha DX: The Bottom Line

Pros
  • Addictive gameplay loop
  • Tons of content
  • Good integration of gameplay concepts and narrative setup
  • Fun side cast
  • Big improvements in crafting over the previous trilogy
Cons
  • Wonky localization in places
  • No improvements to the Plus version's performance issues
  • Ayesha's a bit meh as a protagonist

Overall, Atelier Ayesha DX is a great entry in the series whether you're new to it or just finding it now. It might not be the most polished, but it has an excellent atmosphere, integrates story and gameplay surprisingly well, and offers a compelling and addictive synthesis system.

[Note: A copy of Atelier Dusk Trilogy was provided by Koei Tecmo for the purpose of this review.]

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New Fire Emblem: Three Houses Cindered Shadows Details Emerge https://www.gameskinny.com/h5e13/new-fire-emblem-three-houses-cindered-shadows-details-emerge https://www.gameskinny.com/h5e13/new-fire-emblem-three-houses-cindered-shadows-details-emerge Mon, 20 Jan 2020 11:37:25 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

The final part of the Fire Emblem: Three Houses expansion pass, Cindered Shadows, was announced last week. It introduced us to the mysterious fourth house called the Ashen Wolves, with its students who live under Garreg Mach Monastery for... reasons. The reveal also raised some questions about how it all fits in with the main game.

We're now getting a better idea of how Cindered Shadows will play out thanks to some new details from Nintendo Japan, along with the Fire Emblem Twitter account. Translations courtesy of RPGSite and Nintendo Everything, respectively.

The DLC is genuinely side content. It will be accessed from the main menu and isn't integrated into the main story. Once players have completed the scenario, though, they can recruit all four main Ashen Wolves into their army — er, class. However, we still don't know if they will have support options with other characters or if they'll be silent helpers like Anna.

The maps are designed to be much more difficult than those in the main game, with new gimmicks and challenges, and players will be using a set group of students for combat. The Fire Emblem Twitter account revealed they will be Dimitri, Claude, Edelgard, Linhardt, Ashe, and Hilda. That's in addition to the four Ashen Wolves students and, of course, the just-announced-for-Smash Byleth.

Non-combat exploration reportedly doesn't use the calendar system either, so we're still in the dark on how the rest of the Cindered Shadows content will play out. Hopefully, we can at least invite these poor wretches denied the light of day to a lovely little tea party. That would make everything better, right?

Anyhow, Cindered Shadows isn't quite a new fourth path that lets you get by without killing everyone, but letting all the House Leaders fight together again is some pretty darn good fanservice nonetheless.

We loved Fire Emblem: Three Houses when it launched last summer and are anxiously awaiting Cindered Shadows' February 13 release date. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Fire Emblem: Three Houses news as it crawls out of the shadows.

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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3 Steams Over to PC Soon https://www.gameskinny.com/z3f2g/the-legend-of-heroes-trails-of-cold-steel-3-steams-over-to-pc-soon https://www.gameskinny.com/z3f2g/the-legend-of-heroes-trails-of-cold-steel-3-steams-over-to-pc-soon Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:57:43 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3 is coming to PC on March 23. It will be available on both Steam and Good Old Games. The news came during Nippon Ichi Software America's PAX South panel on January 17.

Unlike the original port of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, NISA isn't handling this one. Instead, Engine Software and PH3 Games are responsible for porting the massive JRPG to PC.

Cold Steel 3 launched back in October on PlayStation 4. The first two games in the sub-series — and all three in the Trails in the Sky sub-series — are all on PC, so fans naturally wondered if and when they could expect a PC port for CS3.

Like all previous PC ports in the series, this one is getting some extra special features, too:

  • Ultrawide screen support
  • Fully customizable key bindings
  • Enhanced visuals
  • Additional High-Speed Mode Options (now up to 6x faster)
  • Auto-Save functionality

In short, it's easily the definitive edition of the game. Whether it will be getting a demo like the PS4 version isn't certain yet.

We were rather taken with the third entry in the deep Cold Steel saga, with its expert weaving of plot threads and character arcs. More and better ways to experience this school-saga-meets-war-drama certainly can't be a bad thing. While more March games might be quite a strain on our wallets, we at least don't have to worry about spending on Final Fantasy VII Remake until April.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Trails of Cold Steel news as it mobilizes.

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Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mind Introduces Customizable Combat, Data Greetings https://www.gameskinny.com/dm2hn/kingdom-hearts-3-remind-introduces-customizable-combat-data-greetings https://www.gameskinny.com/dm2hn/kingdom-hearts-3-remind-introduces-customizable-combat-data-greetings Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:43:31 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Square Enix recently lifted the lid on some new Kingdom Hearts Re:Mind news. A fresh information page for the Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC expansion shows off some just-for-fun modes, along with options that let you customize your battle experience as you see fit.

The update is only on the Square Enix JP website, though Gematsu translated the screenshots and accompanying text blurbs.

First up is the Premium Menu. This screen hosts PRO Codes, a shmancy term for additional features you can toggle on or off, and ones that have a pretty significant impact on Re:Mind's battles. It's like Dragon Quest XI's Draconian Quest; for example, you can set it so Sora and other party members can't cast Cure, Team Attacks can be disabled, and Form Changes can be turned off.

Apart from that, Re:Mind is getting a fun little snapshot mode. You can choose specific characters, backgrounds, expressions, and poses, then snap a shot known as a Data Greeting. Stuff these into an album, set unique background music for each, and you've got a custom Kingdom Hearts slideshow unlike any other.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mind releases for PlayStation 4 on January 23 and Xbox One on February 25. We quite liked Kingdom Hearts 3 and we're looking forward to the expansion quite a bit, actually. We'll have our review for the DLC up shortly after the PS4 launch date, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC news as it develops.

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Skies of Arcadia Developer Seeks to Start Movement for Sequel https://www.gameskinny.com/kjczz/skies-of-arcadia-developer-seeks-to-start-movement-for-sequel https://www.gameskinny.com/kjczz/skies-of-arcadia-developer-seeks-to-start-movement-for-sequel Tue, 14 Jan 2020 17:18:55 -0500 Erroll Maas

Programmer Kenji Hiruta recently tweeted an image of an autographed illustration of Skies of Arcadia by illustrator Itsuki Hoshi and said that he would send it to a randomly-chosen fan overseas by the end of January 2020. To receive the autographed illustration, fans only need to follow him, send him a direct message, and retweet the initial tweet.

In a follow-up tweet, Hiruta stated that if a movement like this gains enough traction, SEGA might consider developing a sequel to Skies of Arcadia, further stating in a reply that he would "really really want to develop it".

Last year, Kotaku interviewed producer Reiko Kadama, who doesn't think Skies of Arcadia needs a sequel, although she had interest in making one in the past. And while Kadama disregarded the question when asked about a port on modern platforms and feels that the GameCube version is the "Director's Cut", she didn't completely deny the possibility either.

Skies of Arcadia originally launched for the SEGA Dreamcast in Japan on October 5, 2000, with North American and European releases coming afterward. Skies of Arcadia later received an enhanced port on the Nintendo GameCube known as Skies of Arcadia: Legends in Japan as well as North America and Europe once again. Both versions of Skies of Arcadia were critically acclaimed.

In addition to its GameCube release, Skies of Arcadia was also planned for release on PlayStation 2 and PC, but both were ultimately canceled. A portable iteration for the Game Boy Advance was also considered, but it never released.

In 2012, the trademark for Skies of Arcadia was renewed and an HD port was expected for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 alongside other SEGA titles like Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, and the Sonic Adventure series. But once again, it was never released. Characters from Skies of Arcadia have made cameo appearances in other SEGA titles such as Valkyria Chronicles and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, which also features a race track based on the game.

Will Skies of Arcadia finally be able to make it to modern platforms? Or will the ship sink yet again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on Skies of Arcadia as it develops. 

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Go All Out with Persona 5 Scramble's Opening Video, 2-Hour Livestream https://www.gameskinny.com/52vm6/go-all-out-with-persona-5-scrambles-opening-video-2-hour-livestream https://www.gameskinny.com/52vm6/go-all-out-with-persona-5-scrambles-opening-video-2-hour-livestream Mon, 13 Jan 2020 15:33:24 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Atlus capped off a week of new Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers reveals with a 2-hour livestream of the game's opening segments. The developer also unveiled P5S' opening video, which you can see above.

The opening video shows off the Phantom Thieves in their new attire, since the game takes place six months after Persona 5. It also heavily emphasizes the game's theme of traveling to different places and shows how central a role the group's phones will play — which makes since as that's where the newest protagonist Sophia lives. Yeah, it's a thing.

Equally as important, the P5S opening video gives us a glimpse at a second new Phantom Thief, a pistol-wielding person who's more than likely the government agent Zenkichi Hasegawa we also saw in the new trailer last week.

Finally, it features a brand-new opening song, with lyrics by Lotus Juice — responsible for much of Persona 3's and Persona Q's soundtrack, among other things — and vocals by Persona 5's Lyn.
 

Then we have the livestream. Non-Japanese speakers won't get quite so much out of this, since like any Persona game, the opening hours are heavily text-based. However, it shows off a lot of new and old.

The old includes Cafe Leblanc, where Joker reunites with the Phantom Thieves once more, and the nearby areas of Shibuya. There's a lot of talking and exploration like in Persona 5, but no Confidant events — yet.

New things include Shibuya's Jail, run by a dominatrix-themed adult Alice in Wonderland because why not... we guess. Anyhow, it seems that, like with Palaces, the Phantom Thieves can go back and forth between Jails and the regular world at will, and it's also looking like some kind of Persona 4-like investigation is involved in uncovering the secrets of each Jail.

We'll likely know even more soon, as Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers launches February 20 for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in Japan. We still don't know when it will launch in the West, though. We'll just have to content ourselves with Persona 5: Royal for the time being.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Persona 5 Scramble news as it breaks.

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Tales of Arise Might See a Release Date Soon https://www.gameskinny.com/b724j/tales-of-arise-might-see-a-release-date-soon https://www.gameskinny.com/b724j/tales-of-arise-might-see-a-release-date-soon Mon, 13 Jan 2020 15:30:05 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Tales of Arise's release date might not be too far off. The latest entry in the storied Tales of franchise was first shown off during Xbox's E3 2019 event, before getting a dribble of information and another new trailer at the Tokyo Game Show. Bandai Namco has been completely silent since then, but according to Gematsu, Tales of Arise was recently rated in South Korea.

It was rated for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, all the platforms Tales of Arise will launch on whenever it does release.

Obviously, a Korean rating doesn't mean the game's going to launch next week. However, unlike all those international retail listings, when a game's rating shows up on an international board, it's a good sign the release date isn't far off.

The South Korean board rated it 12+, basically the equivalent of the ESRB's "T" rating. It's also in line with the South Korean rating for basically every other Tales of game except Tales of Berseria, which received a 15+ rating there (and, incidentally, a 16+ rating with Europe's PEGI system).

Tales of Arise follows the story of two planets, Dahna and Rena. Rena is the divine planet and is revered by the people of Dahna. The fine folk of Dahna don't realize, or just overlook, that Rena is siphoning off all Dahna's vital resources in exchange for absolutely nothing. Two people — who handily happen to be the game's main protagonists — are looking to change this relationship and forge new futures for both worlds.

While the South Korean rating suggests Tales of Arise won't be quite as dark as Velvet Crowe's journey of vengeance in Berseria, there's still a lot to look forward to. Bandai's goal for Arise is creating the most immersive world and combat as possible as a rebirth for the series, and as a way to carve a more stable home in the West.

We'll be keeping a sharp lookout on any new information, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Tales of Arise news as it develops.

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Trials of Mana Character Spotlight Shows Off Charlotte, Kevin https://www.gameskinny.com/v1ih7/trials-of-mana-character-spotlight-shows-off-charlotte-kevin https://www.gameskinny.com/v1ih7/trials-of-mana-character-spotlight-shows-off-charlotte-kevin Fri, 10 Jan 2020 13:39:03 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Last year's release of Trials of Mana within the Collection of Mana on the Nintendo Switch and the announcement that the previously Japan-only title would be getting a total remake and international release was one of the biggest surprises for classic JRPG fans in 2019.

The original title, Seiken Densetsu 3, was known to some in the West as the lost Mana game, though it was playable and in English via certain means.

Unlike the Seiken Densetsu 3 on the Super Famicom, the new upcoming Trials of Mana will be a solo excursion. Tossing the original title's multiplayer capabilities to the side, the remake appears to be even more combat-oriented.

The persistent top-down view has been exchanged for a more dynamic camera, and it appears to be notably faster a boon considering the original game's slow, imprecise combat and sluggish menus.

Square Enix has released two character spotlight trailers, one of which released this week. The first, seen below, features two of the game's playable characters, the reliable Duran and fan-favorite Angela.


The second character spotlight trailer highlights Charlotte and Kevin. Charlotte retains her signature cutsey-speak (thank goodness), and half-beastman Kevin's introduction story is pretty much laid out in full.


Trials of Mana
will breathe new visuals, music, and combat into this classic title, but whether players will have increased control over their other party members has yet to be seen. The question also arises whether we will be able to hot-swap characters mid-combat as in the original Seiken Densetsu 3, but that seems a given.

We've still got some time until the game's April 24 release on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Steam; and we're due for one more character spotlight trailer to highlight Riesz and Hawkeye before then.

I suppose we can toss the Seiken Densetsu 3 moniker now and just refer to it as Trials of Mana. Are you looking forward to seeing Trials of Mana remade to suit modern tastes? I certainly am since nothing seems amiss so far. Let us know in the comments below and warm up that wallet for the game's release in just three months.

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Check Out the Latest Action-Packed Persona 5 Scramble Trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/l762t/check-out-the-latest-action-packed-persona-5-scramble-trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/l762t/check-out-the-latest-action-packed-persona-5-scramble-trailer Thu, 09 Jan 2020 11:39:20 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Atlus released yet more new Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers footage ahead of the game's February 20 launch in Japan. This time, it's an epic story trailer set against Persona 5's "Rivers in the Desert."

Anyone concerned this musou-style sequel would be too Dynasty Warriors should leave their fears at the door. From possessed classmates and the legions of darkness, to a new maybe-Shadow look for Joker (golden eyes, and all that), drama, Persona fusions, and, of course, a romantic Ferris Wheel scene, there's a huge variety of action in the trailer. And it's all very much Persona.

The trailer mostly focuses on areas we've seen already, but we do get a glimpse of some areas outside Shibuya and Sendai and lots of action. There's what looks like an underground factory of some kind, reminiscent of a similar area in Persona 3, plus an ice-themed region complete with a snow queen Shadow boss. Story specifics are still unknown, but it seems like the stakes are even higher this time around — but there's always time for a snowboarding break.

It seems at least one of the new NPCs outside the prominent NPCs we reported on previously, government agent Zenkichi Hasegawa, will play a fairly prominent role throughout P5 Scramble. Lavenza gets at least some additional screentime outside the five seconds the story allowed her in the original Persona 5.

If that Ferris wheel scene is anything to go by, we'll probably be getting the usual Confidant/Social Link options as well, which is particularly interesting to see given how the characters have all moved on from the first game.

Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers will launch in the West at some point on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. We just don't know when, though Persona 5: Royal releases in March. Keep it here on GameSkinny for more Persona 5 Scramble news as Atlus rolls back the darkness.

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Final Fantasy 15 Getting Mobile MMORPG Spinoff https://www.gameskinny.com/7ht2k/final-fantasy-15-getting-mobile-mmorpg-spinoff https://www.gameskinny.com/7ht2k/final-fantasy-15-getting-mobile-mmorpg-spinoff Wed, 08 Jan 2020 10:31:00 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Final Fantasy 15 might never get all of its originally planned DLC, but the story will continue in a brand-new mobile MMORPG nonetheless. The game is tentatively titled Final Fantasy 15 Mobile and is the result of a partnership between Square Enix, Korean developer JSC, and GAEA.

FF15 Mobile will release in China first, with a global launch planned sometime after that. There's no word yet on when these launches might be, though more details and a trailer are planned for the first half of this year.

FF15 Mobile is set in a world parallel to the original Final Fantasy 15, but it borrows many elements from the base game. Players take control of Prince Noctis and friends and travel around the massive world. While the mobile game will include many elements from FF15 Royal Edition, it will also have new content that expands on the game world and lore based on the "Origin of Mythology."

That means new locations as well, like the Great Pagoda and, in true Final Fantasy fashion, floating continents. Combat is touch-controlled, and even though gameplay is designed as a large-scale multiplayer experience, the dev team is taking steps to ensure it has a specific JRPG and Final Fantasy feel to it.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Final Fantasy 15 Mobile news as it's conjured up.

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The 12 Best Classic Style JRPGs on Steam https://www.gameskinny.com/t78l7/the-12-best-classic-style-jrpgs-on-steam https://www.gameskinny.com/t78l7/the-12-best-classic-style-jrpgs-on-steam Tue, 07 Jan 2020 13:38:00 -0500 Ty Arthur

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With literally hundreds of RPG Maker games on Steam right now and many more than that available to download for free through other sites it's a good bet we missed dozens of titles that are well worth playing.

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What did you think of our list, and should any other games have been included in our look at the best old school JRPGs on Steam? Let us know in the comments!

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Outside of Steam, console players may have another big JRPG resurgence in the near future. There's tantalizing possibility on the horizon of fans getting to replay classic PS1 RPGs on an upcoming console.

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While we're still waiting some more concrete news, rumors have been swirling about PS5 being backwards compatibile with every earlier iteration of the console  and the possibility of an expanded digital catalog of PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 JRPGs, though we learned nothing new of that prospect at CES 2020

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As someone whose copies of Chrono Cross and Vandal Hearts no longer work because the decades-old discs freeze up regularly, all I can do is plead with Sony to make it happen. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/9/c/d9c13a8f046e48ae57a2f2d6d134850410fe49321920x1080-7d7a1.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/9/c/d9c13a8f046e48ae57a2f2d6d134850410fe49321920x1080-7d7a1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"205552","description":"

Octopath Traveler 

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Oh man, it's been a long time since Square Enix gave us a game like Octopath Traveler. After those lucky Switch players got first dibs on this modern classic in 2018, Octopath is finally on Steam.

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While there's an absurd amount of grind to work through here, it's just nice to see a big name developer finally returning to the original JRPG style and realizing gamers still want classic art and storylines.

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For more on why you should play this Square Enix JRPG, be sure to check out our review of Octopath Traveler

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Last Dream

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Remember picking your party's class options at the start of the original Final Fantasy on the NES? You get that same experience here with Last Dream  except your choices impact the game in more than just the combat lineup. Each class has a different town and overland map abilities.

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Choice is a big element in Last Dream. On top of choosing your class options, you can choose from six different difficulty levels, as well as three different combat encounter rates.

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With a huge world and lots to do, Last Dream is something you could easily sink 50 to 100 hours into if you love the old-school style but prefer it reimagined with some modern tweaks.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/2/20200103224713-275dd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/2/20200103224713-275dd.jpg","type":"slide","id":"205550","description":"

Stoneshard: Prologue

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A little different from the rest of the JRPGs on our list, Stoneshard: Prologue isn't exactly a JRPG. Instead, it's more like a turn-based version of Diablo with a hint of Darkest Dungeon thrown in for good measure.

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NES, SNES, and Genesis fanatics will still want to make a point of checking out the Stoneshard demo anyway. The game's turn-based combat, classic pixel-art style, dungeon exploration, and dark take on magic and religion will strongly appeal to JRPG fans.

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Right now, the short Prologue version is up for grabs for free, while Stoneshard itself launches in Early Access this coming February. I suspect it will turn some serious heads when it's finally finished.

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Romancing Saga 3

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I'll be honest: I don't think Square Enix is the company it once was, at least in terms of RPGs. I don't expect it will ever return to those heady days of Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy Tactics, but thankfully, many of those old favorites are seeing re-releases and/or remasters.

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Granted, some of those amazing games have received appallingly lazy ports over the years, but on the flip side, we're now seeing fantastic RPGs from the SNES-era that never made it to the U.S. Thanks to the digital revolution, entries like Romancing Saga 3 are officially available in English for the first time.

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The level of freeform options available in Saga 3 is sort of staggering. You can approach any quest from any angle in pretty much any order. Of course, as a Saga game, you've got to realize there are some very obtuse, very archaic systems implemented here that will be a challenge for modern audiences. That being said, try it anyway! It's one of the best JRPGs on Steam right now. 

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West Of Loathing

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I want you to take a long, hard look at that image above. Is your first impression to laugh and then smack me for putting a joke of a game in this list?

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If you skipped West Of Loathing because it uses stick figures probably drawn in Microsoft Paint, you've made a major mistake. West of Loathing is easily one of the best games of 2017  in any genre.

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Yes, it's silly. Yes, it's ludicrous. And yes, it's incredibly awesome. Classic JRPG mechanics in a Wild West setting filled with demon cattle, ghostly pickles, and horses that have seen way too much works so much better than you'd expect. 

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Check out my review of the game from 2017

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Breath Of Death 7: The Beginning

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Simultaneously a parody of and tribute to the Dragon Quest games, Breath Of Death 7 (the first game in the Breath of Death series) goes heavy on both the comedy and strong gameplay.

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From party members who are certain that poor villagers are hiding a Bazooka of Ultimate Destruction in their house chests to merchants who are very candid about their pricing strategies, everything in the RPG genre gets lampooned here.

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Zeboyd Games improves on this formula and makes quite a few gameplay additions in both follow-up entries, Cthulhu Saves The World and Cosmicstar Heroine. They are both well worth your time as well if you get a kick out of Breath Of Death 7: The Beginning.

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Pale Echoes

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Not nearly as long as those epic 60-hour games of the past, Pale Echoes is short, sweet, and very different than you might expect.

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While this Echoes features all the trappings of traditional turn-based JRPG combat melee attacks, spells, etc.  there's a major twist in its systems. There are no random battles that whittle down your resources as you try to level up before accessing the next area.

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Instead, every battle is purposeful and has a limited number of turns to complete. To win a fight against shades of the past, you must materialize memories in the correct order to ensure each party member hits a shade that is weak against a specific attack type.

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Not everyone will love such a change, but it does offer something unique instead of the same old experience  and it is well worth trying out. The setting is also worth noting, as even though this is essentially a fantasy RPG, it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world with occasional looks back at what the universe looked like before its utter destruction.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/4/a/74adddcfa21e18c9eb960d6fe49310495d9bfbb01920x1080-726bc.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/4/a/74adddcfa21e18c9eb960d6fe49310495d9bfbb01920x1080-726bc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"205546","description":"

Astoria: The Holders Of Power Saga

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Featuring Dragon-Quest-style combat Final-Fantasy-esque dialog and exploration, Astoria: The Holders of Power Saga expertly straddles the line between classic JRPG tropes and modern mechanics extremely well.

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Astoria knows exactly what it's doing and exactly who its playerbase is, so expect some major throwbacks to the hallowed favorites of the genre. The sound effects, in particular, might bring a tear to your eye if you grew up on early Dragon Quest titles.

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However, this is more than just a retro look back at bygone times. From a wealth of entertaining side quests to top-notch music and character models, Astoria is easy to fall in love with you long for a 16-bit RPG.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/e/l/celestian-2a69b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/e/l/celestian-2a69b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"205545","description":"

Celestian Tales: Old North

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Instead of the obvious "save the world" storyline, Celestian Tales gives you six different characters to choose from, all of whom are nobles learning about their responsibilities to the world just as war is breaking out.

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Despite the diverse cast, Tales' replay value is lower than you might expect since you learn most of the story's twists in one playthrough. That being said, there are some solid changes to the formula — such as picking between different primary and secondary skills — on display that make Celestian Tales worth playing. 

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The real draw here is in the interactions between the large cast of nobles working their way into the military, as each has a radically different viewpoint and reason for joining the ranks. There's a religious fanatic getting out into the wider world for the first time, a timid but rational atheist who tries to overcome problems through reason, a happy-go-lucky elf who has never experienced the savagery of war before, and more.

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As you might imagine, those characters clash strongly as they are forced to work together. The end result is something quite a bit different than your average JRPG.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/i/grimms-3c421.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/i/grimms-3c421.jpg","type":"slide","id":"205544","description":"

Grimm's Hollow

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For something well off the beaten path, Grimm's Hollow is almost like a fantasy RPG version of Dead Like Me. Here, you wake to discover you are the latest grim reaper, and you're tasked with helping ghosts move on in the afterlife.

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Although Grimm's Hollow is very short, and I badly wish I could turn off the walking steps sound effect that constantly clacks everywhere you go, it is an otherwise fabulous JRPG experience.

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It's a quirky, fun, and very different take on the traditional fantasy turn-based RPG. And while the subject matter diverges, it's a good bet you'll dig Grimm's Hollow if you liked Earthbound or anything that pushed the original boundaries of 16-bit RPGs.

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Did I mention that it's totally free? Even though it's only a 2- to 3-hour experience, the devs really should set a price commiserate with Grimm's quality and concept.

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Ara Fell

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Both might utilize a pixel style and turn-based combat, but Ara Fell is a totally different experience than Echoes of Aetheria. On almost every level, Ara Fell showcases how varied the genre can be when indie developers work on passion projects. 

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Coming from Stegosoft Games, Ara Fell is a classic SNES/Genesis-style RPG from beginning to end. In some ways, it's arguably better than many of the original 16-bit titles that inspired it.

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From its phenomenal soundtrack to its lush colors and intriguing story, Ara Fell hits all the right notes in a symphony of nostalgia. The setting itself is a huge draw as well, featuring people living on floating islands amidst elven ruins, with vampiric creatures lurking down in the Abyss of the surface world.

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If you fondly remember getting drawn into classics like Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean, you will absolutely want to play Ara Fell. Not sure if you're willing to drop the $10 on a retro RPG? Ara Fell has a free demo on Steam that lets you play through the prologue and part of the opening chapter.

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Stegosoft Games is currently working on a follow-up titled Rise Of The Third Power, and you better believe it's a modern JRPG that should be on your wishlist.

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Echoes of Aetheria

\n\n

We'll start off with a personal favorite: Echoes of Aetheria. It features a strong FF6 vibe, and it's set in a fantasy world with a bit of tech thrown in for good measure. While much more a standard JRPG than a full-blown tactical RPG, Echoes Of Atheria brings big changes to combat by adding a grid.

\n

Area attacks hit specific squares, and there's a good deal of strategy to play with when moving characters around. Another twist sees each character swapping out a range of skills, and you have full freedom to level or de-level skills as needed.

\n

With a robust crafting system included, there's plenty to explore in the realm mechanics, all completely independent of the story.

\n

Adding character, Echoes of Aetheria makes sure to sprinkle in the silly and cheesy dialog that's a staple of the classic JRPG genre. But there's a seriously dark edge to many of the interactions between party members as the story progresses.

\n

The game's characters set it apart, too, as Echoes Of Aetheria really doesn't have damsels in distress. Although it opens with the princess getting kidnapped at her wedding, things take a turn pretty quickly and said princess becomes one of the most dangerous party members in the game.

\n

As icing on the cake, EoA is one of the few RPGs where shifting alliances and regional backstories make some level of sense, and the characters often ask questions that people in the real world would ask about why governments are doing awful things.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/r/n/frnntocv-979f5.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/r/n/frnntocv-979f5.jpg","type":"slide","id":"205541","description":"

For pixel-art JRPG fanatics without an actual retro system, there are only so many times one can replay Chrono Trigger or Breath Of Fire on ZSNES or some other emulator. When we've finished our 200th playthrough of Lufia, it may be time to see what else is available on modern platforms like Steam.

\n

Thankfully, plenty of developers have kept and are keeping the classic JRPG spirit alive through re-releases of Japanese titles that didn't make it to the West back in the day. Supplementing that, others have developed original games in the old-school JRPG style. And, of course, we have the wonder that is RPG Maker.

\n

That latter option takes some getting used to with all its quirks  pressing "F12" dumps you to the main menu instead of taking a Steam screenshot  but the lineup of RPG Maker content on Steam is well worth the effort.

\n

If you go indie, you'll find some interesting and unique takes on combat, level design, and story that you won't see from big-name developers.

\n

Before we dive into the 12 best Steam JRPGs, we have one final quick note: there is an ever-increasing number of hentai RPGs on Steam, and some of them are actually pretty high quality. We'll make a specific list of those, which we'll link back here. 

"}]]]>
Check Out Shibuya, Sendai Jails in New Persona 5 Scramble Trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/w35hz/check-out-shibuya-sendai-jails-in-new-persona-5-scramble-trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/w35hz/check-out-shibuya-sendai-jails-in-new-persona-5-scramble-trailer Thu, 12 Dec 2019 12:04:55 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

In case you haven't had enough Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers gameplay and story details recently, Atlus has kindly provided even more info in another recent livestream.

Giving lengthy demonstrations of the battle system, the stream introduces us to the Shibuya and Sendai Jails (if you don't know what those are, head over here to check it out). The Shibuya Jail is the Alice in Wonderland-themed area, while the Sendai Jail is the posh-looking neighborhood.

You can see these new areas in the above video. The Shibuya Jail footage starts at around 1:16:00 and the Sendai footage begins around 1:40:00

Unlike Palaces, which are expansive but limited to one spot, it seems like Jails encompass a wide area, such as an entire city or neighborhood. 

Since jails unsurprisingly have guards, P5S seems to offer the same kind of exploration and stealth mechanics as the original Persona 5, though you do get the added benefit of using the Morgana bus to run down mobs.

When you aren't meow-ing down enemies with your cat bus, the combat system in P5S is as fast and frenetic as you'd expect from any Warriors-style game. However, it seems to blend well with traditional Persona mechanics as well.

Trash mobs are exactly that, but tackling bigger Shadows is different. It requires a balance between offense, defense, and the usual conserving of SP, while exploiting enemy weaknesses before they wear you down.

Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers launches on February 20, 2020, for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in Japan. Though there's no word yet on when the West can expect a release, Persona 5: Royal is releasing at the end of March, so that's something at least.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Persona 5 Scramble and Persona 5 Royal news as Atlus unmasks it.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a Timed PS4 Exclusive https://www.gameskinny.com/jgj4q/final-fantasy-7-remake-is-a-timed-ps4-exclusive https://www.gameskinny.com/jgj4q/final-fantasy-7-remake-is-a-timed-ps4-exclusive Tue, 10 Dec 2019 11:16:01 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Final Fantasy 7 Remake's box art reveals that the anticipated JRPG is a timed PlayStation 4 exclusive and will be coming to other platforms in 2021.

Since its reveal, Final Fantasy 7 Remake seemed as if it would be a PlayStation 4 exclusive. After all, Square Enix suggested nothing to the contrary, and the original FF7 was a PSX exclusive. However, Twitter user Wario64 uploaded an image of the game's North American box art that confirms FF7 Remake is a timed exclusive.

The box features the iconic scene of Cloud Strife standing in front of ShinRa Corporation we've seen before, but in the bottom right corner is a little box with text saying, "Play First on PS4: Timed Exclusive until 3/3/2021."  

What other platforms FFV7 R will be on is still a mystery. However, with almost every Final Fantasy game coming to Xbox One and even the promise of Final Fantasy 14 on Xbox at some point, it's probably a safe bet we'll see Final Fantasy 7 Remake on Xbox. There's no reason to suggest the already-in-development FF7 R chapter 2 won't follow a similar pattern.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Final Fantasy 7 Remake news as it develops.

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New Persona 5: Scramble Character Trailers Showcase Yusuke, Ann https://www.gameskinny.com/tgwuq/new-persona-5-scramble-character-trailers-showcase-yusuke-ann https://www.gameskinny.com/tgwuq/new-persona-5-scramble-character-trailers-showcase-yusuke-ann Fri, 06 Dec 2019 11:25:05 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Atlus just keeps pumping out new Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers info. Over the past several days, the developer has released two new character trailers. 

The new character trailers showcase some of what we can expect out of eccentric starving artist Yusuke Kitagawa and the glamorous model Ann Takamaki.

P5 Scramble: Yusuke Kitagawa Character Trailer

The Yusuke character trailer shows off familiar areas in different forms and provides some background for Yusuke's part in Scramble's plot. We see a familiar street lined with stately-looking homes, but in a red-washed, eerie looking palette. There's a glimpse of the Alice in Wonderland themed area  as well.

More importantly, now know that P5S will feature animated cutscenes throughout, just like its predecessor.

Yusuke uses the ice Persona Goemon, and his attack style is similar to his attack in Persona 5: slow and powerful while using a katana.

You can see the Yusuke character trailer at the top of this article. 

P5 Scramble: Ann Takamaki Character Trailer

Ann Takamaki was the focus of another trailer just a week ago, and you can see the English dubbed version above courtesy of YouTuber Lettuce Sauce.

Ann's trailer shows her welcoming phone-child Sophia to the Phantom Thieves, but the trailer's main emphasis is combat. In keeping with Ann's role in the first game and occupation as a model, Ann's fighting style is flashy and dramatic.

She switches between her whip attacks and machine gun, before calling her fire Persona Carmen for a devastating special attack.

We don't see much more of what the world has to offer, though Ann's trailer does show some of the exploration elements promised during the lengthy Scramble livestream last month.

Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers is coming to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on February 20, 2020 — but only in Japan. Fret not Western Persona fans. Just a month later, Persona 5: The Royal, an expanded edition of Persona 5, will launch in the West on PlayStation 4.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on the Persona series as it breaks. 

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Persona 5 Royal Will Steal Your Hearts, Time, and Wallets in 2020 https://www.gameskinny.com/wj4qx/persona-5-royal-will-steal-your-hearts-time-and-wallets-in-2020 https://www.gameskinny.com/wj4qx/persona-5-royal-will-steal-your-hearts-time-and-wallets-in-2020 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 13:27:18 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

At long last, Atlus USA has announced a Western release date for Persona 5 Royal: March 31, 2020.

Persona 5 Royal will be available in a few different versions: the Launch Edition, the Phantom Thieves Edition, and some special digital bundles. No matter which version you purchase, though, all Persona 5 DLC is available for free for players of Persona 5 Royal.

That's pretty good. On top of the usual costumes and healing item packs, those players get access to some potent Personas as well.

If this is the first you've heard of Persona 5 Royal, P5R is an expanded version of Persona 5, introducing a new playable character, Kasumi Yoshizawa, new Confidants, and a brand-new area to explore. It also extends the story into the third semester after Christmas. You can check out the full details about what's different here.

Here's what every edition of Persona 5 Royal will include.

Persona 5 Royal Phantom Thieves Edition

The Phantom Thieves Edition is basically the Persona 5 Royal special edition and will retail for $89.99.

  • Official Joker Mask (comes with a stand)
  • Collector’s Box
  • Artbook
  • Soundtrack
  • Limited edition Steelbook case
  • Dynamic PS4 Theme code

Persona 5 Royal Launch Edition

The Launch Edition still includes the steelbook and dynamic theme. It will set you back the usual $59.99

  • Limited edition Steelbook case
  • Dynamic PS4 Theme code

Persona 5 Royal Digital Editions

There are two digital special editions up for grabs as well.

Persona 5 Royal Ultimate Edition

This P5R edition will go for $99.99 and includes the game, plus all DLC bundles and six additional costume packs. Those DLC packs and their prices if purchased separately are:

  • Kasumi Costume Bundle – $14.99
  • Battle Bundle – $9.99
  • Persona Bundle – $9.99
  • DLC Bundle – $59.99

It's not clear what the DLC bundle is, though, since it's more than the other three packs combined.

Persona 5 Royal Deluxe Edition

Finally is the digital Deluxe Edition, which will cost $69.99 and comes with the game plus the Kasumi costume bundle.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Persona 5 Royal news as it develops.

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14 Upcoming Switch Games to be Excited About in 2020 https://www.gameskinny.com/27pru/14-upcoming-switch-games-to-be-excited-about-in-2020 https://www.gameskinny.com/27pru/14-upcoming-switch-games-to-be-excited-about-in-2020 Sat, 30 Nov 2019 12:39:27 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

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LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

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Developer: Traveller's Tales
Release Date
: TBA 2020

\n

Another Lego Star Wars game? I hear you cry in exasperation. Yes, it is another Lego Star Wars game — with a twist.

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Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga includes Lego versions of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, the two films that haven't yet been turned into Lego games (partly because The Rise of Skywalker hasn't actually debuted yet, of course).

\n

More importantly, the other seven Lego Star Wars games have been completely rebuilt. These aren't the same games you've already played with a fresh coat of paint. They take advantage of more recent changes to the Lego formula, like open worlds with big hubs, more emphasis on character abilities, and things like that.

\n

The galaxy changes as you progress too. While you might explore Tatooine in A New Hope and everything looks hunky-dory, when you go back under a later game to explore, portions of it (i.e. Luke's home) are completely unrecognizable.

\n

It's taking advantage of Star Wars mania, sure, but in all the right ways thanks to these changes. Here's a chance to experience the entire Lego Star Wars saga afresh, even after the Skywalker story ends this December.

\n

---

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While Nintendo is still playing its cards close about first-party Switch releases in 2020, there's definitely not going to be a shortage of games to play on the Switch.

\n

Whether you're longing for escape to an island paradise, keeping Tokyo safe from Fire Emblem demons bent on world domination, or just casually carrying out corporate conquest on a planet far, far away, 2020 is going to be another busy year for Switch owners.

\n

For more lists detailing the biggest games coming in 2020, be sure to check out the list of articles below: 

\n"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/fd53c1d31d023522d093ed330387dbdf.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/fd53c1d31d023522d093ed330387dbdf.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13055","description":"

DOOM Eternal

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Developer: id Software
Release Date
: TBA 2020

\n

Doom Eternal is a good metaphor for the series' relationship with Nintendo. It starts promising but ends up hitting so many complications on the way.

\n

Doom Eternal was supposed to be out this year for all platforms. Then it got pushed back to March 20, 2020 — and the Switch version got a TBA for 2020.

\n

Really, it's okay because a finished game is better than a crap one, and hopefully it gives the dev team time to work without having the life completely crunched out of them.

\n

Whenever it launches, Doom Eternal looks like it's going to be well worth the wait. It takes a slightly different approach from other Doom games, since it takes place on Earth, plus it's said to be twice as long as the usual Doom games.

\n

Other than that, it's the same over-the-top combat against hordes of demonic aliens, with wild weapons, showers of blood, more blood, and more demonic aliens bent on murdering you — definitely not for the squeamish or anti-violent.

\n

Disappointing though the delay may be, Doom 64 is still set to launch on the Switch on March 20, 2020.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d0cde2f314d3220154e194f38efce57b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d0cde2f314d3220154e194f38efce57b.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13052","description":"

No More Heroes 3

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Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Release Date
: TBA 2020

\n

E3 2019's announcement of No More Heroes 3 was a welcome surprise.

\n

Suda51's cult classic No More Heroes series first debuted in the Wii era as a tribute to hardcore action fans. Protagonist Travis Touchdown takes on the role of hero by using his modified lightsaber-ish beam sword to essentially hack anything and everything to pieces.

\n

That irreverent attitude towards the establishment, plus some equally unorthodox gameplay mechanics (like how you recharge your weapon and save), carved a niche for the series and created an intense demand for more.

\n

There was a sequel in 2010. 2010. Almost ten years ago, ten years with no more No More Heroes.

\n

That changed a bit with Travis Strikes Again, but it didn't really scratch the itch. Finally at E3 this year, a proper sequel was announced. Other than knowing No More Heroes 3's release date is 2020 and that it features Travis returning to Santa Destroy after ten years to find an artificial city hovering over the real one.

\n

From there is anyone's guess what happens and why. This is Suda51 after all.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/59d2ba0b9f74ef30986dece4d44ba2a4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/59d2ba0b9f74ef30986dece4d44ba2a4.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13057","description":"

The Outer Worlds: Nintendo Switch

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Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date
: Early 2020

\n

Obsidian Entertainment's The Outer Worlds is coming to Nintendo Switch early in 2020. Let that sink in for a minute.

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The Outer Worlds is a sci-fi game set in a distant world you're tasked with bringing under the control of a massive intergalactic corporation. The story and gameplay elements aren't anything revolutionary, true. But The Outer Worlds gets its characters just right, with each party member and even NPC playing an important role alongside your own. It's the kind of depth Obsidian is known for, and it makes every playthrough unique.

\n

Not only is it one of 2019's most anticipated — and successful — AAA titles, but it's a tremendously short span of time from its launch on other consoles to its Switch launch. Where Skyrim took six years to arrive on a Nintendo console, The Witcher 3 took four, and now The Outer Worlds is potentially going to take less than a year. It's quite an achievement and bodes well for the Switch's future, as we predicted would happen.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/6372b5bf1f347389e077ae34790f5495.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/6372b5bf1f347389e077ae34790f5495.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13045","description":"

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

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Developer: Monolith Soft
Release Date
: TBA 2020

\n

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is a remastered version of the Wii original Xenoblade Chronicles — and that's about all we know. It was first shown off in the September Nintendo Direct, and other than boasting gorgeous new graphics, releasing sometime in 2020, and potentially using material cut from the original, there's still a lot that's unclear about this remaster.

\n

Fortunately, we know the most important part: it'll be amazing. The original Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the best JRPGs of its era. Granted, that isn't saying much seeing as it launched in a period with relatively little competition. But the narrative scope, massive and intricate settings, blending of fantasy with sci-fi, and unique battle system still stand strong after almost ten years.

\n

If you've played Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you'll notice a few key differences, namely that combat is simplified with no Blades and relatively fewer combo opportunities. That's a trade-off for a streamlined narrative that starts strong and never lets up and massive areas to explore that somehow seem more open than the sequel's.

\n

Most important is the graphical update, though. It's not like the original was nightmare-inducing, but...oh wait, yes it was.

\n

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/98d1e1e007dd3df7d97be2da4bcd9f81.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/98d1e1e007dd3df7d97be2da4bcd9f81.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13051","description":"

Rune Factory 5

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Developer: XSEED
Release Date
: TBA 2020

\n

Marvelous has been keeping a tight lid on Rune Factory 5, so tight, the above trailer showcasing a few bits of monster art and maybe the protagonist's house is all we've seen about the upcoming Rune Factory game. Other than knowing it'll be out sometime after Rune Factory 4 Special and has some kind of crossover connectivity, that's it.

\n

Sure, we could put Rune Factory 4 Special on here instead, but RF5 is kind of a big deal. By the time it releases, it'll be the first new Rune Factory game we've seen in seven years. That's a long time in general, but even longer considering the release gaps between the first four Rune Factory games were even longer.

\n

The series might be a spinoff, but it has plenty of strong points to make it worth looking into. For one, it's the reason we have monsters and dangerous exploration in Stardew Valley, being the first of its kind to introduce monster hunting and ranching into the usual farming mix. It also goes a step further Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons with the detail of its world map and characters. While there might be plenty of other farming-sim games vying for your attentionRune Factory offers a completely different kind of experience.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e1fb57a1722df45bad0cde230c451b94.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e1fb57a1722df45bad0cde230c451b94.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13047","description":"

Digimon Survive

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Developer: Bandai Namco
Release Date
: TBA 2020

\n

Digimon games have been on a roll in recent years. The Cyber Sleuth games revitalized the series in the West — which I ramble about at length elsewhere — and encouraged the development team to keep localizing games for international distribution.

\n

That's a good thing, because Digimon Survive is looking like another big step forward for the franchise, and it's set to launch sometime next year on all platforms, including Nintendo Switch.

\n

Survive takes elements of visual novels, adventure games, and strategy RPGs as it tasks players with choosing which friends to bond with, how they bond with their Digimon, and then how they manage these bonds on the battlefleds to try and, well...survive...in some sort of alternate, post-apocalyptic world.

\n

Outside time and bond management, Digivolving will play an even bigger role than usual, as Digimon can evolve or devolve at any point during a battle, if certain requirements are met. Normally, Digivolution depends on the Digimon's stats, but in Survive, it'll all relate to how you've forged your bonds outside battle.

\n

It's been delayed already, but it certainly seems worth the wait and might just be the most ambitious Digimon game yet.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/0ed070395a86e5bb37411f5a9387b6eb.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/0ed070395a86e5bb37411f5a9387b6eb.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13060","description":"

Atelier Dusk Trilogy Deluxe Pack

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Developer: Koei Tecmo
Release Date
: January 14, 2020

\n

Gust and Koei Tecmo have been busy pumping out games in the long-running Atelier franchise this year, with Atelier Lulua earlier, that building-sim disaster we won't talk about, and Atelier Ryza just last month. All these and the original Arland trilogy are available on the Switch, which leaves one noticeable gap: the Dusk trilogy.

\n

Koei Tecmo America is filling that gap first thing in the new year with the Atelier Dusk Trilogy Deluxe Pack. It's the DX, expanded versions of Atelier Ayesha, Atelier Escha & Logy, and Atelier Shallie, all of which were previously only available on the Vita, though the vanilla versions were on the PlayStation 3.

\n

The Dusk trilogy is praised for moving the series forward in terms of narrative scope and character development. While it's still very much a case of cute girls doing cute things and making items, there's an overarching narrative tying their stories together. Plus, it brought some much-needed changes to the brutal time system and improved item synthesis a good bit as well.

\n

Like the Arland trilogy, all three will be available separately on the eShop as well.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/515834f54e977694db2801aa5112a6f5.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/515834f54e977694db2801aa5112a6f5.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13056","description":"

Minecraft Dungeons

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Developer: Mojang
Release Date
: April 2020

\n

Minecraft Dungeons is Minecraft meets Diablo, and that's not a bad thing by any account. The above footage is from an Xbox event, but it does a much better job showcasing what the game is about than the original reveal trailer.

\n

The idea is your party of adorable little Minecraft figures explores a variety of dungeons built in Minecraft fashion, takes on hordes of enemies, gathers loot, then uses said loot to get even stronger by making weapons, armor, and the like.

\n

The focus is on everything you can't do in regular Minecraft, like explore for a purpose or deck your avatar out in gear that makes them a complete killing machine. It's looking like you'll need that gear too, since Minecraft Dungeons doesn't appear to skimp on the mob hordes. Luckily, you'll get special abilities and magic to help keep you alive too.

\n

It's a clever twist to the usual build-and-craft formula. It's surprising this didn't happen earlier, really, though it's in keeping with Microsoft's desire to expand the Minecraft property in new ways.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/c9bdea205b219c61d64dd127e4269fe7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/c9bdea205b219c61d64dd127e4269fe7.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13059","description":"

Trials of Mana

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Developer: Square Enix
Release date
: April 24, 2020

\n

Remember how we pined for any release of Seiken Densetsu 2 — now known as Trials of Mana — before 2019, even if it was just a fan translation? Well, not only did Square Enix (finally) bring the Collection of Mana west over the summer, complete with the (finally) localized Trials of Mana, but the game is being completely remade from the ground up for a standalone release in 2020.

\n

Secret of Mana is widely regarded as a masterpiece of an RPG, and Trials of Mana manages to do one even better. It builds on Secret of Mana with branching storylines, multiple job classes, and an overall more epic narrative scope. Part of that scope is because the story can change depending on how you construct your party; it's not necessarily a huge deal now, but for the SNES era, it was something we didn't typically see outside the SaGa games.

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The Trials of Mana remake boasts completely redesigned 3D maps and models and a revamped battle system. While some of the character modeling looks a bit iffy, and it seems the characters are definitely on the chatty side during battle, this is an RPG to keep an eye on.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d1e171ad010b149d1cc42ce67619f1d5.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d1e171ad010b149d1cc42ce67619f1d5.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13050","description":"

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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Developer: Nintendo
Release Date
: March 20, 2020

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E3 2019 gave us a delicious glimpse of the newest Animal Crossing game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons — and then told us it wasn't out until March 2020. Investors might have flipped out over that fact, but it definitely looks worth the wait.

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New Horizons moves away from the town mayor feature of New Leaf — which is the only thing it could do to stay fresh — and instead puts everyone on a deserted island. You're tasked with building a town there, but the major gameplay elements and flow of progression remain largely the same, with a few notable exceptions.

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One is crafting. You'll be making a lot of your items, tools, and possibly even furniture in New Horizons with the materials you find on the island. Then, a la Happy Home Designer, you can put your furniture anywhere you want, on the beach, near a tree — whatever floats your handicraft boat. In typical Nintendo fashion, it's a small change that simultaneously opens up a huge range of new possibilities (and it's one of the Animal Crossing changes this writer was hoping for the most).

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Whatever New Horizons does or doesn't change, we just hope that jazzy tune from the trailer makes a reappearance.

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Fairy Tail

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Developer: Koei Tecmo
Release Date
: March 19, 2020

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Gust, makers of the Atelier and Ar Tonelico games, are behind the brand-new video game version of the popular manga and anime series Fairy Tail. Fairy Tail follows protagonists Natsu Dragneel and Lucy Heartfilia as they join a guild and journey across the dangerous land of Fiore.

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It's your typical shonen-style anime, with big hair, bigger attacks, and even bigger personalities, but those characters are what make Fairy Tail stand out for so many people. There are a lot of stories to follow, and each one's usually interesting enough to stand on its own. You can catch a glimpse of some of those characters in the release date trailer that was just unveiled too.

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Like Sword Art Online it's looking like Fairy Tail for Nintendo Switch is really going to be for fans of the franchise, with a boatload of familiar figures, places, and concepts featuring in every trailer so far. The game's goal is to be faithful to the manga, though, so it very well could be a decent entry point for anyone unfamiliar with the series too.

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Langrisser 1 & 2

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Developer: NIS America
Release Date
: Early 2020

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Langrisser was one of those somewhat elusive strategy RPG series most Western fans couldn't get their hands on — legally, at least. Most of the games and their remakes stayed in Japan, but now, partly thanks to the mobile version's success and probably thanks to Fire Emblem's roaring rebirth in recent years, that's about to change.

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Langrisser 1 & 2 is a full remake of the series' first two titles (y'know, in case that wasn't obvious) with new designs, plenty of quality of life improvements, dual voice, and brand-new orchestrations.

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Gameplay-wise, Langrisser is a lot like Fire Emblem, with an emphasis on character class and army organization. One thing that Langrisser does differently, though, is its story. The entire series centers around an ages-old conflict between divine beings that regularly plays out in the normal world. This time, it takes the form of invasions from kingdoms suddenly turned aggressive and the forces of darkness working behind the scenes.

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"So... like Fire Emblem" you say. Yes, but these stories and the lands they're set in are connected; the games take place on the same continent with connections between characters and kingdoms stretching back to the past.

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Right now, it's not completely clear when the collection will launch; some listings say February, others don't. Just expect it sometime early 2020.

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Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore

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Developer: Atlus
Release Date
: January 17, 2020

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It's name is certainly a mouthful, but Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is definitely not an RPG to overlook. On the surface, it's a bizarre mashup of Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei series and Nintendo's Fire Emblem, with a huge portion of J-pop on top.

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Underneath that, it's still a bizarre mashup of all those things, but its seamless execution and exhilarating, over-the-top battles make it a strong RPG that was sadly trapped on a dying system, the Wii U.

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It's coming to the Switch almost first-thing in 2020 and brings with it even more content than the original.

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The mashup works like this: basically, the setting and battle system are SMT, while characters and narrative influences are Fire Emblem. You've got the evil forces from beyond this world trying to invade, and battle requires careful exploitation of enemy weaknesses to get an advantage, just like SMT. But you'll be summoning Mirages instead of demons, and these Mirages just so happen to be famous Fire Emblem heroes.

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Oh, and your party is an aspiring band of J-pop Idols and every battle is a performance, because Japan.

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When Tokyo Mirage Sessions first released, Fire Emblem Fates and Awakening were "the" big Fire Emblem hits, so most of the FE portions revolve around those characters. Even though Three Houses has taken over that top spot and Encore includes new material, don't get your hopes up for an Edelgard Mirage.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/p/c/upcoming-switch-games-7b326.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/p/c/upcoming-switch-games-7b326.png","type":"slide","id":"204565","description":"

The Nintendo Switch had a stellar year in 2019, from excellent ports like Dragon Quest XIS to new entries in long-running franchises like Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Pokemon Sword and Shield. With such a jam-packed year, it's hard to imagine 2020 could have anything similar in store.

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That goes double when you consider a lot of the big hitters are still missing from next year's schedule. Persona 5 Scramble might not release in the West next year, Shin Megami Tensei V might get a new trailer for 2020, and Breath of the Wild 2 and Metroid Prime 4 are still just distant blips on the radar.

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Fortunately, there's still plenty of goodness ahead, making owning a Switch in 2020 still worth it.

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There's first party goodness like Animal Crossing: New Horizons to look forward to and a veritable ton of third party software on its way, from The Outer Worlds and Trials of Mana to Doom Eternal and a new Minecraft game.

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So buckle up (your wallet) as we take you through the top 13 upcoming Switch games for 2020 in the order of release dates.

"}]]]>
Final Fantasy VII Remake Chapter 2 in Production https://www.gameskinny.com/6hq0b/final-fantasy-vii-remake-chapter-2-in-production https://www.gameskinny.com/6hq0b/final-fantasy-vii-remake-chapter-2-in-production Wed, 27 Nov 2019 13:02:27 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

The Final Fantasy VII Remake is coming up faster than a rampaging Chocobo. Set for a March 3, 2020, release date, we know Final Fantasy VII Remake is being split into chapters, but Square Enix has thus far kept silent about the progress on part two. 

However, we now know a bit more about the second chapter. 

Square Enix recently posted a set of interviews with the Final Fantasy VII Remake development team, and director Tetsuya Nomura mentioned work has already begun on chapter two.

Of course, how long the development on part two will take is another matter. Nomura mentioned the process of remaking Final Fantasy VII started once the team wrapped up Dirge of Cerberus. Though, he also said other projects, including the Final Fantasy XIII sub-series, took time and focus away from this overall goal.

What this goal is, Nomura was still secretive about, saying:

Opportunities for discussing our true intentions are few, but with regard to the size of the game that many are asking about  there’s no reason at all to worry.

Even in this Midgar portion alone, the density and volume are so great that I had to give directions to lighten them. 

Kazushige Nojima, one of the lead writers on Final Fantasy VII Remakes, commented a bit on the story design as well. Nojima said the original FFVII story allowed room for interpretation thanks to some of the cartoon-like methods and structures used, but the remake's story is much more straightforward.

While it might lack the interplay between narrative and user interpretation, Nojima mentioned the team is able to create a fuller and better-realized version of Cloud and his compatriots.

Co-Director Motomu Toriyama carried the idea further, saying new technology has allowed the team to develop characters and scenarios, like the (in)famous Honey-Bee Inn, in ways they initially intended.

The revamped battle system seemingly follows suit. A round of new screenshots shows an enhanced Materia system that lets you modify weapons to a greater extent, add more Materia slots, and learn abilities from using weapons.

The full set of interviews can be seen here.

Though the wait for March seems unbearable, you can fill the gap by watching the most recent Final Fantasy VII Remake footage. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news as it develops.

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