September 2013 In Review: Don't Touch Lola Edition
AKA the month when Tokyo Game Show creates a ton of news.
10.07.13 - 7:54 PM
Guys/girls/Miqo'tes, there was a lot of news in September. I'm not sure this is the longest Month in Review yet, but it's certainly a contender for the title. From a bevy of high-profile remakes, some new titles, and all manner of news and media coming out of both Tokyo Game Show and a random Sony Japan event, there's a lot to cover here! It was easy to get lost in these updates, so let's walk down memory lane together.
But bring some coffee. And water. And a snack. This is going to be a long walk.September only saw one new podcast episode around here. With our main podcast crew suddenly being busy with school — either going to classes or working there — September really impacted their schedules. We'll get things going again, but until then, be sure to give Random Encounter #69 - Tactical Advantage a listen for talk of Final Fantasy XIV, Rob's newfound love of Tactics Ogre, and more. Our first review of September was Derek's take on Sweet Fuse: At Your Side, a game with a premise so off the wall, it sounds impossible to dislike. Sweet Love wasn't the only game with romance to get reviewed, as newcomer Zackery checked out the iOS-based Everlove: Rose.
Stephen reviewed one of September's biggest remakes in the RPG world, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX. Speaking of remakes, Etrian Odyssey: The Millennium Girl will likely be a contender for October Game of the Month. Early in September, Greig wrote a preview, which you could read, but you may be better served by his recent review of the game instead.
Bob reviewed the "unsettling" Home for iOS and PC. Equally unsettling is... oh wait, I guess Mario isn't unsettling. John Tucker reviewed the plumber duo's latest RPG, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. Proving his diversity, he then switched over the PS3 version of Diablo III and was far more impressed than I expected (but that's good!).
Andrew reviewed a few things too, starting with the gorgeous visual novel If My Heart Had Wings, and following it up with the surprisingly stunning Valdis Story: Abyssal City, a game I really need to play myself. Meanwhile, RPGFan Music Overlord Stephen Meyerink reviewed the Valdis Story soundtrack.
As we're wont to do, we're running a multi-part review journal series on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. This time around, given how many of us are playing, each part is being written by a different editor. Yours truly wrote Book I and talked extensively about the game's conception and premise. Derek followed up with Book II, and brought his unique perspective as a player of the 1.0 version of the game.
Newcomer Luna Lee reviewed an adventure game that's decidedly non-formulaic in The Dream Machine. Released in August, John Tucker reviewed the PS Vita release of The Walking Dead, which includes all five episodes and the sixth episode titled 400 Days.
Derek reviewed a new single from Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra, Final Fantasy IV - Main Theme Orchestra. I reviewed Dj CUTMAN's MeowMeow & BowWow: A Tribute to Link's Awakening, and only broke down once about the fate of the island's inhabitants. But it's a fun little album.
Andrew listened to Portals, a collection of string arrangements covering games such as Kingdom Hearts and Zelda, and found much to like.
For the final music review of the month, Bob took a stab at Chrono Trigger Symphony Volume 2. Do you need to ask if it's worth a listen? No you don't.One of the first releases in September wasn't a game, but the iOS version of Final Fantasy XIV's Libra Eorzea companion app.
Bethesda released its massive Elder Scrolls Anthology, containing all five games and their expansions.
Muteki Corp followed up the 8-bit-styled Dragon Fantasy Book I with — you guessed it — Dragon Fantasy Book II.
September saw more than a couple of enhanced remakes/ports, but they're good ones: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX and Diablo III (console) came early, with the digital version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD landing at the end of the month. Also in September's final week, Android users can finally play the upgraded Final Fantasy V that was previously available on iOS. Why did so much come out at the end of the month? Aksys released Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi, an enhanced version of the PSP original, now for 3DS.
Released the same week as most of the above titles was Chapter 3 of The Raven from Nordic Games.
The last two noteworthy releases of the month — which we don't have reviews for yet are Legend of Dungeon from Robot Loves Kitty, and the enhanced Atelier Meruru Plus for PS Vita.
Lastly, Neocore released the new thaumaturge class as DLC for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing.Bravely Default is getting an enhanced re-release in Japan, the strangely-titled Bravely Default: For the Sequel. Even better, the North American and European releases will be based on this new version, which makes this excruciating wait worth it.
During a Pokémon-themed Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced that the red and blue Pokémon X & Y-themed 3DS XL systems would see a Western release, along with the announcement of the Pokémon Bank 3DS app and more.
One of the biggest surprises of September was the news that us English-speakers would finally be able to play The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter in 2014 on PC or PSP, thanks to XSEED and Carpe Fulgur.
At a late-night (for those of us in North America) conference that was apparently not intended to be of interest to gamers outside of Japan, not only did SEGA reveal Phantasy Star Nova for PS Vita, but Keiji Inafune also revealed the upgraded Soul Sacrifice Delta, both coming in 2014. Additionally, Kadokawa Games revealed the interesting-looking Natural Doctrine. While one of the biggest things to come from the event was the new model of the PS Vita, of interest to us was the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster-branded model. Many of us hope it makes it out of Japan.
Like they did with Disgaea 3 before it, NIS is bringing Disgaea 4 to PS Vita in early 2014.
Square Enix talked about upcoming content for two MMORPGs: The Japan-only Dragon Quest X is getting an expansion, as well as an iOS release. How that's going to work is anyone's guess. What we hope is not limited to Japan is the oddly-named reveal of Final Fantasy Agito for iOS and Android. Taking the original name of Final Fantasy Type-0, it is in fact a prequel to the Japanese-only PSP title. We have our fingers crossed this game really does make it out in English and that there's hope yet for Type-0 to follow suit.
Ubisoft surprised us all with the reveal of the stunning Child of Light, a game that's instantly found its way onto many of our wishlists.
Arc System Works, the developers behind titles such as Persona 4 Arena, are working on Age of Amazones, an RPG set in a women's prison. I can't make this stuff up.
Like Final Fantasy IV before it, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is getting the semi-chibi 3D treatment, with the remake coming to iOS and Android next year. Speaking of remakes that someone apparently asked for, Compile Heart is bringing Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 to the Vita under the name Hyperdimension Neptunia Re; Birth 2.
Acttil and developer Elemental-Labs announced Reborn, an action RPG set in 2188 Neo-Tokyo. While already in development, the two companies have stated a Kickstarter campaign is in the works to help finish up the game. Another KS-funded project that is worth a look is Eden Industries' Citizens of Earth. Being developed in Canada, the game looks to have a very modern, inspired-by-EarthBound sensibility.
Soon after the release of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX came the announcement of Project Destati: Awakening, an 18-minute licensed EP that is but a teaser of things to come.
Perhaps the first title that proved RPGs on smartphones could be legitimately good, FDG's Across Age is seeing a sequel, appropriately titled Across Age II.
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is an upcoming PS3 & Vita visual novel with a cool ghost hunting premise that was shown off at TGS.
Calling this an announcement may be a little premature, but Compile Heart and Idea Factory are teasing a yet-untitled RPG coming to PS Vita in 2014.We knew Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was coming to PlayStation 4, but that PS3 players can move to PS4 for free was an awesome and unexpected announcement. We learned of more details — with screens! — regarding the crossover madness between Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy XI, and Dragon Quest X. The FFXIV developers revealed some highly-anticipated content coming in patch 2.1, including the Crystal Tower, player housing, and PVP.
It seems several characters from previous FFXIII titles will return in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, defying logic. Then again, when time travel is involved, all things are possible.
It looks like Final Fantasy XV will feature fewer non-interactive cutscenes in favor of real-time interactive events.
Rune Factory 4 saw a mild and non-specific delay past its planned summer release, but luckily it only moved to October 1st.
While it's still a little weird that Atelier Rorona is being remade on the same console it debuted on, the new character models are nice. Not only that, but we learned a new scene is being added in which Rorona, Meruru, and Totori meet, even though chronologically, this shouldn't be possible. Pure fan service, perhaps? The series' newest non-remake, Atelier Escha & Logy, released in Japan over the summer. Thankfully, Tecmo Koei announced both a European and North American release in early 2014.
The digital-only Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies for 3DS finally received a release date of October 24th. I have no objections. Except to my own bad joke.
Is SEGA Sammy Buying Index & Atlus?, our headline read. It seemed to be the case, but SEGA quickly denied the news, before later confirming it. I don't want to see Sonic making a cameo in Persona 5, although if SEGA wants to add some MegaTen tracks and characters to a future All-Stars Racing game, I'd... actually be okay with that. Related is yet another countdown site for what we're hoping is Persona 5. Please?
Perhaps validating the complaints of many, Blizzard announced it will shut down Diablo III's auction house on March 18th, 2014. Whether that date has any significance to the release of the upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion, one can only speculate...
Dark Souls II is still six months away, but that didn't stop Namco Bandai from revealing two special editions that will be offered. Coming a bit sooner is Sorcery Saga: The Curse of the Great Curry God from Aksys, which will also be getting a limited edition package.
Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes, the next adventure title starring the iconic detective, is now coming to PS4 in addition to PS3, Xbox 360, & PC.
We learned quite a bit about three characters in Blackguards, coming next month from Daedalic.
Spike Chunsoft is bringing The Witcher 3 to Japan, as it did with The Witcher 2.
JAST USA opened up pre-orders for Steins;Gate, coming this winter.
While not an official announcement, we found it interesting that Namco trademarked "Tales of Zestiria" in North America and Europe, which is impressive since such a game has yet to be announced even in Japan.Yes, there was a lot of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII media in September. We started with five new location videos, new screens and artwork with the newly-revealed full cast, and while there was a slick Tokyo Game Show trailer, the extended version is even better. We also got to see Lightning's wildly inappropriate (personality-wise) Yuna, Aerith, and Miqo'te costumes. Finally, if you've just given up on trying to resist new media, watch Lightning Returns' cinematic intro in HD and join me in the agonizing wait until February.
Now that the collection is no longer in limbo, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster also got its own TGS trailer. This game can't come out soon enough. The last batch of Square Enix TGS stuff gave us new media for Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts III, Bravely Default: For the Sequel, Final Fantasy Agito, Drakengard 3, and Dragon Quest X.
Alongside the game's announcement, we got a trailer for Final Fantasy Agito, as well as a TGS trailer soon after. If you prefer your iOS/Android Final Fantasy remakes to new titles, we added a small gallery for Final Fantasy IV: The After Years.
Okay, in non-Square Enix media, we... wait, just kidding! Watch this Drakengard 3 trailer from TGS first, and don't miss the collection of media for the upcoming Final Fantasy XIV x Lightning Returns collaboration.
Leading up to its release, Atlus teased us often with Etrian Odyssey Untold media, introducing us to Arthur Charles, EOU's Classic Mode, Raquna Sheldon, a trio of videos focused on Simon, The Highlander, and Frederica. Whew.
Even though Tales of Xillia has been out for a couple of months, I'm still amazed that we got it, and are going be able to play the sequel too. To ease the wait until next year, watch the first English trailer for Tales of Xillia 2, and poke around our updated gallery. Also coming in 2014 is the HD remake of Tales of Symphonia and its sequel. Check out both this new Japanese video and this English-subtitled trailer to see just how far both Symphonia and Dawn of the New World have come visually.
Another gallery seeing frequent updates is that of the soon-to-release Pokémon X & Y.
Get a better look at Capcom's Deep Down in this trailer from the September 9th SCEJ conference.
NISA's The Guided Fate Paradox is coming in November. Have a trailer! Releasing even before that is Disgaea D2, which saw new screens and videos... and then some more late in the month. While we don't know if it's going to come here, we saw a new trailer for NIS' Battle Princess of Arcadia.
We got to see more of the improved Bravely Default: For the Sequel, including the long-awaited first English trailer!. Unrelated except for also being a beautifully-designed game, there's new videos for Compile Heart's Fairy Fencer F, including a look at protagonist Fang and Tiara.
Why Spiders is releasing a teaser video for Bound By Flame now, after we've seen the game in action, I'm not sure. But there it is.
Coinciding with the release of the third and final chapter, we posted new screen shots for chapters 2 and 3 of The Raven.