This Week in Games
by Heidi Kemps,
Stop the presses, everyone – as I write this, the most important gaming-related announcement of this week has just been unveiled.
I'm talking, of course, about the Geralt of Rivia Nendoroid.
If there's any collectible company with its finger on the pulse of international nerddom, it's definitely Good Smile Company. They've really gone gungho with expanding the Nendoroid line to include popular game characters from Eastern and Western games alike, and it seems to be paying off. Hell, I just saw Overwatch Nendoroids at TARGET. Friggin’ TARGET!
The reason why Nendoroids have such strong appeal, of course, is their attention to detail: Geralt here is very clearly recognizable despite his chibified form, and comes with a bevy of great accessories. Most importantly, he comes with The Bathtub.
But here's the great thing: one of the most appealing aspects of Nendoroids is the ability to swap parts between figures, meaning you can take The Bathtub and plop the head of any other Nendoroid on there. This is going to be amazing.
Anyhow, it's another fairly slow week for gaming stuff, but we can at least talk about the big surprise Steam release, right?
Illusion is a well-known Japanese purveyor of adult PC games, and the past couple weeks have seen them make some big pushes into the Western market for the first time. Illusion recently teamed up with erotic manga publisher FAKKU to distribute Honey Select outside of Japan (as Honey Select Unlimited), and now they've launched VR Kanojo to a much bigger audience via Steam.
Some of Illusion's previous product offerings were... well, controversial might be understating it. Honestly, I don't feel like dragging up that conversation here, since both Honey Select Unlimited and VR Kanojo are pretty tame and straightforward. Erm, as tame and straightforward as games about virtual sex can be, anyway. Honey Select Unlimited is basically “make custom characters and watch them perform naughty acts, plus VR support” while VR Kanojo is “Summer Lesson but Horny on Main and VR's Right in the Title.” The Steam version of VR Kanojo doesn't let you go beyond a certain point in your courtship of the female character, but – as is typical for a lot of these sorts of games that turn up on the service – there's a patch you can download that will restore all the spicy bits.
Surprisingly, both of these games are getting some mainstream notice. HSU, as many have noted, has one of the most detailed character creators anywhere in the industry – which makes sense, given that the whole point of the product is “watch characters you find attractive getting it on.” But HSU is still kept away from the public in the internet equivalent of the neighborhood “adult boutique” where all the windows are blacked out. VR Kanojo, on the other hand, is getting some wider exposure it might not otherwise, and patches are pretty easy to dig up if you want to take your virtual relationship one step further.
I find this all quite interesting. It's clear that games like these have an audience, but it's incredibly rare to see them get mainstream exposure. An overwhelming majority of stores won't carry Adults Only-rated games at all, and they're also barred entirely from major online storefronts. You don't see many adult games with Illusion's high production values, either. I wonder if this attention might be one of those first baby steps towards more acknowledgement and discussion of adult games and their place in the industry? Unfortunately, I doubt it.
MORE YO-KAI WATCH IS COMING (IN JAPAN)
Well-loved (except by me, apparently) Level 5 has gone on record as saying that all future games in their big franchises will be coming to Switch. Not a surprise, really, given that the Switch has been selling like crazy on a global scale. It's also not a surprise that a Yōkai Watch 4 is coming, given the franchise's continuing popularity in Japan. What is surprising is that it's a Switch exclusive, with no 3DS version at all.
You see, the 3DS still has a lot of popularity among young kids, particularly in Japan, and they're the prime audience for the titles. A good chunk of those kids haven't been able to upgrade to the Switch yet, but they're going to have to in order to enjoy the further adventures of Jibanyan and company – much to the annoyance of the parents they're going to beg to buy a new console.
Meanwhile, there's still no sign of Yōkai Watch 3 for the West. I really wonder if Level-5 has basically given up on trying to make the series a thing here – despite a massive marketing push, it never seemed to take.
ETRIAN ODYSSEY X KEEPS THE 3DS TRAIN ROLLING
But while Yōkai Watch is dumping the 3DS, another beloved RPG series is staying onboard that ship until the very end. Earlier this week, Atlus Japan announced Etrian Odyssey X (that's X as in “Cross,” not X as in “Megaman X,” which by the way is getting its legacy collections released in June), the latest in the fan-favorite dungeon crawling, maze-mapping, FOE-smashing saga.
Etrian Odyssey X is designed to be a mix of the series’ best elements all mashed together into a single game. Based on the information that's coming out, there's going to be a lot of callbacks to previous games, ranging from dungeon designs and environments to every single class from previous EO games plus an all-new Hero class. It's promised to have “the highest volume yet of any EO game,” which sounds like maybe too much of a good thing to me, given that I've put 80-100 hours into some of the previous Etrian outings.
The million dollar question, of course, is whether or not Atlus USA would still bother with a 3DS localization, given that said localization would likely come out either late this year or sometime in 2019. They're all about pleasing fans, so I'm leaning towards “yes,” but I also wouldn't rule out a potential Switch port, either.
Still, every single previous EO class? I tend to play EO games making at least one adventurer of every class to swap in when needed, so I have a feeling I need to either adjust my playstyle or prepare for one hell of a grind.
It's been a big week for longtime fans of SNK's fighting games… well, more specifically, it's been a big week for longtime fans of female characters from SNK's fighting games. First off the bat came the announcement of Blue Mary for King of Fighters XIV, and she's playable right now alongside the Version 3.0 balance patch. It's been over a decade since her last appearance in a KOF, so people are rightfully excited.
SNK Heroines, meanwhile, is also getting a face that hasn't been seen in SNK-land for a while. Female Orochi Team fighter Shermie's been added into the mix. Sure, she might technically be dead in KOF canon, but that's not going to stop her from playing dress-up with the other ladies!
In some non-SNK news, a Blazblue X Tag Battle Collector's Edition was just announced for the US, and it looks pretty slick.
Mostly ports this week. Dark Rose Valkyrie, an under-the-radar Compile Heart RPG with Kousuke Fujishima art that debuted on PS4 last year, makes its way to PCs. Stunningly gorgeous and painstakingly made platformer Owlboy also hits PS4 and Xbox One, so if you haven't acquired that one yet for whatever reason, you now have another means by which to do so! And if you're sad that you can't get Ys VIII on the Xbox One, you can take some solace in the knowledge that you'll at least be getting Ys Origin this week.
That's all for this week! Take it easy and enjoy some games.
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