This Week in Games - Crossing Over

by Heidi Kemps,

It's EVO week! It's EVO week! And I still have to pack for my trip to Vegas! Crap!

Forgive me if this week's column seems a bit shorter than usual, since I'm writing this on the day before I leave for one of the biggest weekends in all of competitive gaming. Mercifully, there's not all that much in the way of news – however, a lot of big fighting game-related announcements are being saved until the weekend for obvious reasons, so there will be plenty to discuss when next week rolls around. My predictions:

  • At least one new Nintendo and guest character reveal in Smash Ultimate
  • Somebody from Yakuza in Tekken (come on, guys, you all know Majima's a better fit for Tekken than Kiryu)
  • A Guilty Gear favorite returning (probably Bridget)
  • More Soul Calibur guest characters
  • CAPCOM showing off either G or Sagat for Street Fighter V, probably both

If you're going to EVO as well, you're welcome to say hi if you see me wandering around – I might be busy, but I'm always down to meet folks. Also, let me know if you're interested in learning how to play Fighting Vipers 2, my favorite fighting game of forever.

TAIKO NO TATSUJIN RETURNS TO THE WEST

Not too long ago, someone spotted a European trademark for Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum n’ Fun!, leading to a lot of speculation that another one of Namco's Taiko games might be coming stateside. The last one we saw was Taiko Drum Master on the PS2, and that was almost fifteen years ago! Thankfully, we don't have to speculate any more – Taiko no Tatsujin is coming back on both the PS4 and the Switch as Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session and Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum n’ Fun respectively. Hooray!

The two games, in their Japanese incarnations, have some distinct differences in the song lists and the gameplay modes, though we'll have to see what happens when they come to the west: licensing issues mean that some songs will likely have to be removed or altered, and there's a good chance a few other elements might be changed as well.

This also gives me the opportunity to relay a fun factoid to you all. Don-chan and Kat-chan, the adorable taiko drum mascots of the series, are among Namco's most recognizable characters. You might not have played Taiko no Tatsujin, but you've probably seen them somewhere, as they tend to creep into other games like the arcade Mario Kart games. But do you know who designed Don, Kat, and all the other cute characters in the Taikoverse?

The same lady who did these funky little characters for Drakengard 3, Yukiko Taro. She is, in fact, the wife of beloved gaming auteur Yoko Taro, and her specialty is designing these weird and adorable little characters. Pretty rad, huh?

EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 IS ALSO COMING STATESIDE

Earth Defense Force is a rare bird in the current game market. It's definitely not a AAA-tier game, and it's long since graduated from “weird sort-of-indie” territory – it's a genuine mid-tier game with a supportive fanbase that keeps it happily chugging along. And good news, aforementioned EDF fans: EDF 5 is now confirmed for a Western release!

The premise behind EDF5 – and every other EDF game – is that a bunch of insectoid aliens are overrunning earth, and your squad of elite forces use a whole lotta wild and wacky weapons and gear to blow ‘em all to smithereens. It's basically a goofy made-for-Syfy movie, except you get to play it, and it's ridiculous and tons of fun.

I'm glad there's a place for Earth Defense Force in the modern gaming market. I wish more publishers would look at this series and realize that hey, maybe we don't need to blow millions on overdone AAA games when we can make something fun on a modest budget that'll sell in decent numbers. Keep fighting the good fight, EDF.

ETRIAN ODYSSEY ADVANCES TO THE NEXT STRATUM

It's the eve of Etrian Odyssey X’s release in Japan, but the development team at Atlus is already looking towards the future. Director Shigeo Komori, courtesy of Gematsu, had this to say:

Etrian Odyssey X will at last be the 10th entry in the Etrian Odyssey series. The reason we have been able to continue the series is thanks to all of the fans who have played and supported its titles thus far. Thank you so much.

As we said at the start, Etrian Odyssey X is a culmination of the Etrian Odyssey series thus far, as well as the last Etrian Odyssey game for 3DS. But of course, that means the last “for 3DS.” The last title for 3DS is nothing other than an announcement for the beginning of the next stage.

We are now moving quickly toward a completely new world for the Etrian Odyssey series that everyone has supported thus far. We are working hard to realize this passion as quickly and properly as possible, so please continue to give us your support.

There's also a teaser video, seen here:

It's obvious that Atlus intends to continue the series, and there are two obvious platforms to do so: mobile and Switch. I'm hoping for the latter, but honestly wouldn't mind the former, either (provided there's no gacha).

NEW RELEASES

LA-MULANA 2 (PC)

The Kickstarter-fueled sequel to the beloved Japanese indie hit is finally upon us! I'm in the process of reviewing this game right now, and I can say that I'm loving it a bunch… except when I get stuck, which is a lot. La-Mulana's brand of Metroidvania-ish gameplay is more slanted towards puzzle-solving than exploration, and given that the game has no qualms about springing instant-death traps on you if you make a wrong move, figuring out just what you're supposed to do at times can be rough! But the sprite graphics are top-notch, the music is superb, and there's plenty of humor and silliness. Look forward to the full review (which won't be on here, but I'll link it when the time comes.)

YAKUZA 0 (PC)

So hey. All of you who wouldn't play Yakuza because it wasn't on PC? No more excuses. Play it or shut up.

(This game rules, by the way, but you all knew that already.)

WARIOWARE GOLD (3DS)

It's been a while since we've seen a new WarioWare incarnation. (I guess there was Game and Wario on the Wii U, but I keep forgetting it exists for a good reason.) While WarioWare Gold isn't exactly new, it does give us a delightful little mix of weird microgames from across the whole of the series. There are also other new additions: full voice acting (including the ability to dub your own dialogue), fifty all-new microgames, and unlockable minigames that include a mode where Wario draws your amiibos to look like characters from Bob Team Epic. I'd say that alone might be worth the price of admission.

That wraps up everything this week. Time to get ready for the next battle…


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