Mike Salbato
July 2013 In Review: Shin Megaman Tenchi Edition
Did I spell that right?
08.08.13 - 12:29 AM

Every month, I tell myself, "Self, be more concise! Each month you make this feature just slightly longer than the last! Nobody has time to read all that."

And then I continue to write and make the feature longer. Although that also means there was a lot going on in July. The late inclusion of several new RPGFan editors (more on them later) helped really boost our late-July output too. Let's get to it!

Podcast Updates
Let it be known that July 2013 is when the RPGFan staff started its addiction to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. You'll hear about that and more in Random Encounter #66 - Legendary.

The Random Encounter crew got together for an incredibly fascinating discussion on character classes: What they like and why each of them prefers the classes that they do. On its own, it was a great conversation, but this episode also featured an interview with Jordan Weisman from Harebrained Schemes, makers of Shadowrun Returns. All of this is Random Encounter #67 - Classy.

The wonderfully talented — actually just wonderful in general — Aivi Tran talked to us about her favorite music, inspirations, her work on the upcoming Cryamore and SoulSaga, and her own album The Black Box. Add in some random squeeing, and this loveliness makes up Rhythm Encounter #8 - An Evening With Aivi.

Game & Music Reviews, Previews
This month in reviews, Stephen reviewed Capcom's updated multiplayer title Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. Stephen is also, among other things, a rabid King's Quest VI fan, so when the woman behind that game has another game in the works, you can bet he'll be writing about it. So check out his preview for Jane Jensen's Moebius.

Dave took on the in-app-purchase-laden Warhammer Quest for iPad.

Andrew reviewed puzzle RPG 99 Spirits, as well as providing us with a preview of EndlessFluff's Valdis Story: Abyssal City, a great-looking side-scrolling action RPG. AND he previewed the Kickstarted roguelike, Dungeonmans? Andrew's been busy!

Kyle, the poor soul, reviewed ArcaniA: The Complete Tale. What did he think? His quote says it all: "... the sort of game a hundred monkeys sitting at a hundred PCs might create if given enough time." You should definitely read his review.

Derek reviewed the much sought-after Shin Megami Tensei IV as well as the Shin Megami Tensei IV Music Collection.

With the first (of three) episodes being released on July 23rd, John Tucker reviewed Nordic Games' The Raven — Legacy of a Master Thief. Let's just say he liked it.

The last few days of July brought us several noteworthy reviews: Bob started with The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, Stephen took on the Depression-era graphic adventure Face Noir, and both Rob & Derek tackled Dragon's Crown, one on PS3 and one on Vita.

RPGFan Music kicked off the month with Pat's Falcom Boss Zanmai, Ys Zanmai, and Sora no Kiseki Zanmai reviews.

Not a music review, but OverClocked ReMix's landmark 40th album Balance and Ruin released, and it features six hours of music from perennial favorite Final Fantasy VI. Even better? Stephen and Derek of Rhythm Encounter were joined by several of the OCR remixers who contributed to the album for a 2-hour live video hangout, now archived for your pleasure.

Speaking of Final Fantasy, Bob reviewed the excellent Final Fantasy Solo Guitar Collections Vol.1, while Pat came back for more music with a look at GameChops' Triple Triad - Final Fantasy Remixes From VI VII VIII.

Finally, Pat then... stepped aside and let someone else review some music! Neal listened to another GameChops album, Tales of EDM, Dj Jo's take on select tracks from Tales of Symphonia. Neal then showed us how courageous he his by taking on the Tokitowa (Time and Eternity) OST. Surely the soundtrack is better than the game proper. Surely.

Game Announcements & Releases
The standout release of July, of course, was Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei IV. But you knew that. Before July was out, Atlus also released some additional DLC quests.

Final Fantasy VII released this month! On Steam, that is. Which is cool. But next, the game you were all waiting for, a new Deus Ex! On iPad! Okay, it's not what we expected, but Deus Ex: The Fall released, and even if people hoped for a full console/PC game, it's cool to see mobile and tablet platforms getting such high quality games these days and not just more bird-based physics games.

In a surprising announcement, JAST USA is bringing visual novel Steins;Gate to North American PCs. Even more surprising? Before even seeing how well Tales of Xillia will perform in English, Namco Bandai announced Tales of Xillia 2 is coming too. Someone over there loves Tales fans recently, and it's great to see. That same day — yes, this was all in one day — NIS America announced that Demon Gaze and DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc are coming to North American and European PS Vitas next year. Meanwhile in Japan, Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) revealed Battle Princess Arcadia for PS3.

Aksys, not one to be left out of wacky announcements, is bringing Sorcery Saga: The Curse of the Great Curry God to the West. Yes, it's a curry-making RPG. In Japan, the game has already received a free batch of DLC that includes an extra-hard bonus dungeon. On the flip side of incredibly hard content, Nippon Ichi released an update to the still-coming-to-North America-one-day The Witch and the Hundred Knights that adds a "casual mode" option to make the game a bit more accessible. The last piece of DLC news came from Gust, who made available new DLC for the recently-released Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, offering up Atelier Ayesha's Wilbell as a playable character and a free dungeon called Palace of the Destitute.

Even though Etrian Odyssey IV just graced our shores in February, Atlus is bringing the enhanced 3DS remake of the original — Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl — over here on October 1st. If you want to hear about a remake we probably won't see in English, Square Enix announced a remake of Dragon Quest Monsters 2 for 3DS. The original game released in 2001 for the Game Boy Color.

Remember when Nintendo announced that EarthBound would be coming to the Wii U Virtual Console "sometime" in 2013? On July 18th, in very Apple-like fashion, they announced the game would be available... immediately. It was the best kind of surprise, and a welcome one for Wii U owners. Square Enix's release of Bloodmasque also popped up suddenly, so if you want to kill vampires and their cohorts as... yourself, check it out.

Nordic Games' The Raven — Legacy of a Master Thief released on July 23rd. Or rather, the first chapter, "The Eye of the Sphinx" released, with the next two chapters following in August and September.

Square Enix must want more people to play Chaos Rings — its original RPG released on iOS in 2010 — as it just brought the title to the PS Vita.

Notable News
Final Fantasy XIII's polarizing heroine Lightning was in the news a lot this month. It began innocently enough when Square Enix announced that for those pre-ordering Lightning Returns, she would don Cloud Strife's SOLDIER outfit. We also detailed Europe's additional pre-order bonuses and super sexy box art. Near the end of the month, we learned about a returning character, a new zone, shops, and more about costume customization than you thought there was to know.

Square Enix decided to *really* open up in Paris at Japan Expo. There was so much news that day, I was just thankful to be home to write it. Along with the Lightning Returns stuff, we learned that Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster will feature cross-saving and a new 30-minute episode after completing both games. Quite unexpected. Later in the month, we learned about the slick limited edition box and art book available to those who pre-order Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster on PS3. Meanwhile, pre-ordering Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMix can net you a sleek dynamic theme for your PS3. We also got a video first look at the limited edition art book, another bonus for pre-ordering Kingdom Hearts junkies.

We learned more about Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, including the somehow-controversial crossover content with Lightning Returns. However you feel about it, you have to admit the idea of getting yourself a gunblade in FFXIV is enticing.

Japan is getting a pair of — pardon me, for I don't use this expression often, but — wicked sweet limited edition Pokémon X & Y 3DSes. Pretty please let at least one of these come here. Speaking of the Big N, Nintendo of America announced a pretty great promotion wherein buying both Fire Emblem: Awakening and Shin Megami Tensei IV nets you $30 credit in the eShop. This promotion is still running through the end of August, so check out our story for full details. Also from Club Nintendo is an offer only for members who have reached Platinum status in the previous year: The two-disc Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Original Soundtrack. Cue my jealousy.

Speaking of Pokémon X & Y, in anticipation of the game(s)' release, Nintendo is holding several special events in North America and Europe, giving away shiny legendary Pokémon for Pokémon Black and White 1 & 2.

Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness (PS3) not only finally got a release date — October 8th — but we brought you details of a fully-packed limited edition package as well.

Pre-ordering Aksys Games' PSP otome Sweet Fuse: At Your Side can net you a pig necklace. As in, the necklace worn by the game's villain, Count Hogstein. Yes, I'm serious.

Following a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012, Wasteland 2 is coming in October thanks to Deep Silver. Speaking of such arrangements, we learned that, like they did with The Witcher 2, Warner Bros. Interactive will be distributing and promoting CD Projekt RED's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in North America.

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy was supposed to launch in Europe this fall, while North America saw it in 2014. Well, Europe MAY still see the game first, but either way, they too won't see the title until 2014. Sadness.

You know what's not sad, though? Pirate costumes in Phantasy Star Online 2: Episode 2. Yes, it's taking a long time for the game to come to North America, but please, join us every Thursday night for our RPGFan candlelight vigil in which we send our thoughts to Yuji Naka and implore... [Editor's Note: This went on for a long time, so we're cutting him off here.]

New Screen Shots & Video
July media began with the debut trailer for Drakengard 3. Before you object I make any awful jokes, we had a new batch of media for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies.

With Dragon's Crown releasing this week, July saw the biggest additions to our now 120+ image gallery, which also included one final trailer.

We saw two new Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII videos at Japan Expo: A new official trailer, and this great 13-minute gameplay video. Following Japan Expo, we dug up even more Lightning Returns screen shots, and got a look at Lightning's FFXIV Miqo'te outfit. Also, don't miss the dramatic '13 Days' trailer.

The third entry in the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn "Tour of Eorzea" series takes us on a tour of many of the MMO's zones, while the FFXIV Dungeon Crawl, Part 1 video lets us peer inside many of the dungeons that will be available in the game.

Now just over a month away, we posted a new trailer and large batch of screen shots for Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMix.

We got first looks at NISA's newly-announced DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Demon Gaze. Later in the month, NISA released both a new trailer and English screen shots for Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness.

Carbine Studios released another gameplay-focused video for its MMORPG WildStar. The topic this time? Aiming.

We saw new screens for Goodbye Deponia, which continues to look wonderful, and really makes me want to play the original game that an unnamed RPGFan editor randomly gifted me out of the kindness of his cold, dead warm, beating heart.

Coinciding with the release of Deus Ex: The Fall, Square Enix brought us a new trailer and screen shots. Another July release, The Raven — Legacy of a Master Thief, came with new screen shots and a trailer as well. Late July also saw Square Enix's iOS title Bloodmasque release, and it too came with a trailer and screen shots.

Don't miss these very flashy — and very pink, I'm just noticing — action shots in our Drakengard 3 gallery. Speaking of pink, you'll find plenty of pink Pokémon in this Pokémon X & Y gallery update. We also got a look in video form at horde battles & sky battles in the upcoming sequel.

Wrap Up
Whew. If you pay attention to the writers of our news stories around here, you'll no doubt have noticed some new faces towards the end of the month who were partially responsible for the late-month news blitz. These fine folks are the delicious, juicy fruits [Ed's Note: Weird] of our recent Hiring Drive, and you should be seeing plenty more from them in the future! We're forcing asking them each to write a short introduction to post on the site, so you'll be properly introduced to each of our wonderful new editors in the near future!

That's it from me! As usual, I hope you enjoyed this look back at all of the happenings of July. I can almost promise August's Month in Review won't go up on time, because I'll be caught in the warm embrace of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, but I'll do my best to wriggle free for awhile!