Pre-E3: Nintendo's New RPG Titles
05.17.05 - 10:41 PM

Nintendo announced many things at their pre-E3 press conference today, some of which were upcoming titles for the DS, GBA, GC, and even the Revolution.

On the DS front, we have a bunch of new RPGs. Animal Crossing DS will allow you and your friends to experience the quirky Animal Crossing action made popular in the previous GC title, this time using the DS's wireless capabilities to connect. Some of the new features include three player simultaneous play in a single town via wi-fi or LAN connections, as well as collecing hats and sunglasses.

Lunar Genesis, being published by UbiSoft, which was mentioned, will apparently be a Real Time Strategy title. Whether it will include RPG elements is yet to be seen, but given the history of the series, would not be surprising. Included in the gameplay will be a Light and Dark system in which you can enhance the abilities of your party by using Battle Cards, which you can trade with your friends using the DS's wireless feature.

While not shaping up to be a traditional RPG, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney looks to be more of an interactive story, with the player taking on the role of an attorney who must, at times, play detective, interview witnesses, and cross-examine litigants. There promises to be drama and comedy mixed together in this title.

GameCube will also be delivering a small, but solid lineup of RPG titles, the most notable of which is Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. TP looks to be the darkest Zelda title yet, with scenes from the trailer showing Link transform into a werewolf and rend his enemies asunder. There are storms, lightning, shadowy figures to keep the macabre atmosphere going.

Sticking with the dark theme, Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness marks the popular series' return to its RPG elements on the Cube. Taking place on Orre, your protagonist travels with an Eevee to discover the secrets of Shadow Lugia. Players will be able to "Snag" and "Purify" pokemon in order to eliminate the darkness that has taken over them. It also seems as if the game will be compatible with previous GBA Pokemon titles.

In third-party GC news, Natsume and Victor Interactive will once again team up to bring gamers Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life. This title compliments the previous GameCube one in that the player goes through the game as a girl, rather than a boy. The story will be the same, only this time played from a female perspective. Hopefully this will make the franchise more accessible to female gamers.

Activision had some screenshots of X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. The X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants will team up to defeat Apocalypse. There will be 16 mutants to add to your team, and multiplayer mode will be supported.

While the Gamecube is their highest-powered system, it was obvious this year that Nintendo was focused on handhelds, as evidenced by their still-strong support for the GBA.

Two Fire Emblem titles will be coming to our shores: The Sacred Stones for GBA, out next week, looks as good as the previous GBA titles on the system. In fact, it doesn't seem as if there were any graphical updates whatsoever, as enemy battle graphics have been reused. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance for GameCube has a North American release date of October.

And what would a Nintendo handheld be without Pokemon galore? Pokemon Emerald Version takes place in the Hoenn Region with one of the most challenging battlefields ever: Battle Frontier. This title will allow players to trade Pokemon using the wireless adaptor for the GBA, as well as interface with the remakes of Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green and Ruby/Sapphire.

Victor Interactive and Natsume are not neglecting the GBA either, as they plan to bring out Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town. Much like in Another Wonderful Life, players will go through the game as a girl, and the title will be compatible with Another Wonderful Life, much like how Friends of Mineral Town worked with A Wonderful Life.

Not surprisingly, Capcom is bringing the latest title its wildly popular Megaman Battle Network series to the US. Two games entitled Megaman Battle Network 5: Team Protoman and Megaman Battle Network 5: Team Colonel will allow players to return to the Internet with their navis, one group led by Protoman, one by Colonel, as they set out to defeat the Dark Chip production system.

Namco isn't leaving the GBA alone, as displayed by their new title, Sigman Star Saga. Advertising itself as the first RPG to feature a space shooter battle system, you play as a double agent for the Humans and Krill to discover the secret of six planets. The title will deliver a branching storyline with many possible endings.

And Atlus is bringing out a title called Riviera: The Promised Land, which will feature hand-drawn graphics, over 100 character expressions, and event scenes. There will be multiple endings and five types of minigames allowing players to unlock secret items and story paths.

Finally, even though the system was just recently announced, and shown for the first time today, Square Enix is developing a Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles title for the Nintendo Revolution. The title plans to capitalize on the wireless capabilities of the new console, and only time will tell what other features will be involved.


Damian Thomas