Excuse me, I think my heart just exploded. As you can tell, I’m a teensy bit excited. Four amazing looking games, two of which I was eagerly awaiting with bated breath (Valhalla and Ys), two of which I was all but certain would come to America (Ys and Killer is Dead), one of which sales numbers would’ve made the studios quite silly not to release (Valhalla, which has always sold far better in America than Japan), and one of which was going to release because…well…we got the last three (Rune Factory) have all been confirmed for America. How’s about a little trailer roundup shall we? Well, except Killer is Dead. I try to be at least vaguely family friendly so I’ll be passing on a trailer for that one. It’s opening is a little, erm…explicit. I will at least tell you that it’s pretty much the game that Suda 51 has been working towards ever since Killer 7, stars a guy named Mondo Zappa armed with a katana in one hand and an arm that can become a variety of blow you to kingdom come weapons at will, looks pretty bloody amazing (no pun intended) and is full of the zaniness that you expect from the luchadore mask wearing director. Mondo is hunting down and killing, well, killers, so there’s a chance he’ll face off with Travis Touchdown at some point since all of Suda’s games seem to be at least loosely connected.
Ya know what, forget Microsoft All Stars, can we get a fighting game with all of Suda 51’s characters? That’s be amazing.
So next we have
Ys: Memories of Celceta:
In this game, Adol Christian (or is it Christen?) has lost his memories, and must journey through the Sea of Trees to get them back. He’ll be fighting without his partner Dogi this time, as the director pointed out “It’d be awkward. Dogi is his best friend. Adol would be all ‘I don’t know who I am’ and Dogi would be all ‘Oh, your’re this guy.’ and Adol would be all ‘Huh…sounds about right…’
By the by, I love Ys. Like, a lot. Like, it’s probably my favorite franchise in existence. To help put this into perspective for you, (actually that might be Phantasy Star Online, but it’s my favorite RPG to be sure) remember that “I might be divorcing Sony in the near future” analogy from a few articles ago? Xseed announcing this game is like Sony came home with a unicorn, a diamond broadsword and a platter of marzipan saying “Baby don’t go!”
I’m a sucker for marzipan and swords…
Next in line is
Valhalla Knights 3
Which I’m just like…man, so excited for. Here’s the thing about Valhalla Knights games……they’re pretty terrible. Like, I mean, they’re ambitious and they do things most RPG’s don’t think of, like give hobbits giant robots, but they each are just…so bad for different reasons. In the first one, you were basically a party of adventurers brought together by your avatar at the guild. Your avatar was like…I dunno man…immortal maybe? Or you were like, a guardian across time? I don’t really know what was going on…I was maybe dead but then I wasn’t…there might’ve been a dragon involved…some girl kept talking to me from beyond the veil or something…it was confusing.
The cool thing about Valhalla was you could build your party how you wanted and pick their classes and then go into battle with like, four or so people at once in real time and it was also co-op. They had cool races, like hobbits, and dwarves were these tall buff fighters instead of the traditional ones and elves were like, these posh aristocrats that would poison your tea and then stab your butler in the kidneys on their way out the door, they had these crazy takes on fantasy races and they were really nifty. Combat was fun, there were a ton of cool moves to learn for every race and job class, fighting folks was a blast! Ya know what wasn’t? Navigating the bloody game.
You would get a quest, and it’d be all “You need to find a ring.” And you’d be all “Cool, where’s the ring?” And they’d be all “It’s in the prison.” And you’d be all “Where’s the prison?” and they’d be all “In a dungeon.” and you’d be like “…Um…okay…”
So you’d wander and then you’d find the prison and they’d be like “It’s by a grave.” And you’d be like “Which one?” And they’d be like “It’s in the prison. In the dungeon. By a grave.” and you’d be like “…There’s like, thirty graves per floor and like…five floors…” and they’d be like “Yeah. There’ll be an event when you find it–” and you’re like “Cool!” and they’re like “But you have to find it to trigger the event.” And you’re like “Does it shine or something?” And they’re like “Nope. Good luck.”
That was every bloody quest.
Then Valhalla Knights 2 came out and was like “Yo, you need to find this ring. It’s in the forest. By a purple tree. Towards the back.” and you’d be like “Um…getting better I guess. Sure. Why not. Where’s the forest?” and they were like “…..Over there.”
Then Elder Saga happened and I just…pretty much pretend that it didn’t. I mean, if it wasn’t Zelda but if Link bathed in molasses it would’ve been great, but…yeah…slow movement and clunky combat marred this one pretty heavily, and even having the fun mechanic of getting to choose a spouse and play across three generations wasn’t enough to save it for me.
And then Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance happened and fixed ALMOST…ALMOST everything. You could actually teleport between locations, leveling up made more sense, the combat engine let you fight with a six man party, you could cross class, quests actually pretty much told you what to do, but again the problem was they were bloody hard to navigate and confusing to tell what you actually had to do and where.
So, why am I telling you all of these negative things if I love this series so much and want you to buy it? For two reasons. One, I don’t want you to get excited from the trailer I’m about to post, go buy ANY of the prequels and then be like “This game is donkey butts.” and skip the new one, and two, I want you to see the amount of polish they’ve done and how far they’ve come.
At the end of the day, many great franchises are buried before they have the chance to grow out of being young and awkward to being a masterpiece. In the words of Eileen from Regular Show, “Awww, does Rigby not love you because you haven’t blossomed into a beautiful swan yet?”
So yes, Valhalla Knights has been an awkward kinda ugly duckling for a while…but I’m pretty bloody sure she’s come back from boarding school as an elegant swan, and dang it, you need to give this poor girl a chance!!!!
The new game features 21 job classes, seven races (humans, elves, hobbits, dwarves, beasts, nightmares and machines), has personalities that get assigned to characters which alters how they interact with other characters which will be interesting because there’s a courting system in the game, and last but not least, seven on seven real time battles. I feel like I’m apologizing for this franchise a lot, but please note that the above trailer is like, alpha phase and the only one Marvelous AQL has released thus far.
Rune Factory 4
Which is sorta the most “Eh.” part of this announcement for me. Rune Harvest, like Harvest Moon, I mean, you either love it or you don’t, and you either get it or you don’t. I’ve never spent much time with the series, but I am excited to see a Japanese game coming to America. Iwata over at Nintendo pledged to do as much as he can to get Japanese games in America, to which to Sony I’m like, “STEP YOUR GAME UP!” The only cool Japanese playstation we get are the ones Xseed makes happen, and they literally have only six people working in their office!!!
So yeah…Sony, step it up.
The thing about the Rune games is they don’t really care about you. They assume that after like, twenty games you know what you’re doing, and they don’t teach you how to play them. This would be fine if they were a straight up dungeon crawler, not a dungeon crawler/farm sim/romance sim/visual novel/adventure game/sailing…thingy. They also tend to have maps that don’t care if you know where to go or what to do.
What I can say however is that Rune Factory loves you somewhat more than Rune Harvest does, and being that it’s on the 3DS and is considered a “kids rpg” and a “girls rpg” in Japan (don’t nobody get offended; Dynasty Warriors is considered a girl’s series in Japan too!) there’s a stronger chance that the game will be willing to assume you don’t know what you’re doing. What’s more, being that it’s the franchise’s big debut on the 3DS, they’ll probably be willing to show you the ropes also. Nothing is more alienating than going “Here’s this cool club, but if you don’t already know the rules you get to just stand around and feel dumb all day.”
See, look at that! You learned how to play just from watching that trailer 😀 They are being more open!
My relationship with Rune Harvest isn’t so much love hate as it is curious confusion. With that said, this one looks like
So there you have it! KILLER IS DEAD, YS CELCETA, VALHALLA KNIGHTS 3, RUNE FACTORY 4!!!!
And I guess by default I’ll need to do an article on each one of these games and why you should throw your money at them…especially Valhalla 3; I’m not sure I did it any favors…