A more in depth look at my most anticipated games coming out soon.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (PS2)
Persona 3 is part of a spin-off to the Shin Megami Tensei game series. The story moves day-by-day over the span of an entire year of high school in Japan (which is broken into trimesters rather than semesters like in American schools). Your character's development depends on how you interact with peers and teachers and how well you do in school. You must participate in school activities and form social links with people. Roughly half the game involves being a high-school student while the other half involves fighting the Shadows in Tartarus, the mysterious tower that houses all the demons of the Dark Hour.
The main character is the only playable character, as the other characters are uncontrolled even in battle. The main character is a teenage boy orphaned at a young age who moves to the city he lived in as a child to go to Gekkoukan High School. Shortly after he arrives he is attacked by Shadows ---monters that feed on the minds of their victims. This attack awakens his Persona, Orpheus. The Persona are the only means to fight against the Shadows and Persona-users (and those with the potential to summon but haven't) are the only people who can move around during the Dark Hour, the 25th hour of the day that takes place between one day and the next. All other people turn to coffins during the Dark Hour and have their minds feasted upon. Those that are left unchanged but can't summon a persona meet a horrible fate. There is a hitch...the only way to summon a Persona is to take an Evoker (a gun-shapped tool issued to the members of S.E.E.S.), put it to your head, and pulling the trigger. Yes, you have to shoot yourself to summon your means of fighting back death.
This strange mix of traditional RPG and dating-sim high school life promises to keep us entertained. Together with all the possibilities this game holds and the number of different things to do, this game has near infinite (exaggeration...) replay value. This is indeed my most anticipated game of the year.
.hack//G.U. Vol.3 Redemption (PS2)
With the truth known to Haseo and both "The World" and the real world coming unhinged, all hope seems lost. Filled with confusion and regret, Haseo searches for the rest of the truth. As the rift between reality and virtual reality shortens, the net begins to flow into the real world and the end to both worlds begin...
The final installment of CyberConnect2's newest .hack series comes out soon and all the mysteries will be revealed. Like the rest of the games it continues right where it left off in the previous installment. Not much can be elaborated without spoiling too much, not that most of it hasn't already been spoiled in the American trailers and movies for the game...
The biggest thing about this game is the change in the Divine Awakening to the Avatar Awakening in which Haseo can now Data Drain enemies to get Virus Cores and Haseo's new Dual-Gunner X-Form in which he fights with two pitol-like gunblades. Haseo's battle patterns have completely changed. Haseo now "slides" across the battle ground in short strafes as he fires. The hold attack is also new as Haseo fires off a volley of shots in all directions. New skills have been added specifically for the X-Form. The player is still able to switch between weapons using the skill-trigger. Skeith also gets a new form to go with Haseo's X-Form in which he has what appears to be 7 light swords on his back that transform into a scythe for close-range combat.
Along with excellent plot development, new party members (which total to over 20 party members after the completion of the game), and a chance to play through the Forest of Pain, this promises to conclude the series nicely with a ton of intriguing gameplay.
Folklore, or FolksSoul in Japan, is a new real time action adventure game with RPG elements for PS3 coming out this fall. It was called "The next generation of dark fantasy" at E3'06 and is in the same vein as Genji and Devil May Cry.
The game starts with a young blonde woman named Ellen and a journalist named Keats. Ellen is looking for her dead/missing mother who suddenly contatcted her with a letter telling her to go to Lemrick, a mysterious town where the living can meet the dead. Keats is an editor for the suppernatural magazine known as Unknown Realms (formerly the name of this game) who gets a mysterious phone call from a woman telling him to go to Lemrick and that someone or something was trying to kill her. Keats ventures to Lemrick, thinking this was some kind of prank, and meets Ellen. Ellen's mother is sitting on a cliff and when Ellen calls out to her, she falls over (assumably already dead). As Ellen reaches for her mother a mysteriou wind blows that causes her and Keats to cover their face. Once they are able to see again, Ellen's mother is gone. Ellen and Keats then proceed to solve this supernatural murder mystery by venturing into the Netherworld.
Gameplay allows you to switch between Keats and Ellen at the beginning of each chapter. There are seven unique realms in the Netherworld to explore. There are also over a hundred creatures, characters and monsters to interact or battle with. The player uses souls of the monsters it defeats to fight other monsters. Using the SIXAXIS wireless controller, the player must beat the enemy until the soul becomes visible (it is a purple-ish see-through image of the enemy) and shake the controller to "rip" the soul right out of the enemy. The absorbed souls are equipped to one of the four "action" buttons (X, O, Square, or Triangle) on the controller. Also actions made by one character affect the story of the other.
With very unique gameplay and a new intriguing story, this title proves to be a promising release on the PS3.
Soul Nomad & the World Eaters (PS2)
One of the most recent installations in Strategy RPG games from Nippon Ichi Software. This game has a heavy Disgaea feel to it (no duh, right?) with its sprite based animations, elaborate special moves, humor, action, "different" storyline, and customizable squad members. This game, however, is not Disgaea (duh again, huh?).
Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, known as Soul Cradle & the World Eaters in Japan, starts off with an evil demi-god known as Gig (pictured above...kinda...he's the guy with the gray hair) who wanted to destroy the world but was sealed for 200 years inside a sword, the very sword the main character receives. Gig released the World Eaters over 200 years ago to destroy everything and now his imprisonment requires him to aid in destroying them.
The main character of this game is chosen by the player. The choices are the generic red-haired male protagonist and the generic red-haired female protagonist, both pictured above. The player has the ability to create squads and comand those squads that will eventually become an army capable of destroying the world...cause that's more fun. At your disposal are 25 different character types to create from. These characters will have different positions in the squad along with different strengths and weaknesses. Unlike previous NIS SRPGs, Soul Nomad will not require the repetitive and tedious task of revisiting and replaying the same areas over and over to level up new characters. Now any characters level can be set to that of the main character. Squads can also be merged together to increase power. There are more possibilities for interacting with NPCs as opposed to previous NIS titles. Stealing from shops and from people as well as attacking towns and fighting NPCs is now possible. The player can also recruit NPCs into his army.
Most everything else that someone needs to know about the game is explained in this trailer. NIS has promised to deliver a new SRPG into the market that can "destroy all SRPGs".