This Week in Games
A Tiny Little Playstation
by Heidi Kemps,
Hey hey folks, it's Tokyo Game Show week! Yeehaw!
I wanted to supplement this week's column with a mini-review of Senran Kagura Reflexions on Switch, but, uh, I'm not sure it even really deserves that, because it's not good.
Basically, Reflexions takes what makes Senran Kagura endearing for a lot of players (A variety of busty girls doing ridiculous gameplay things that make fanservice happen) and tosses it out the damn window for an extremely confused and very, very short Switch tech demo. You start the game in a classroom with series mainstay Asuka, where she blushes and askes you to massage her hands with the joycons using feedback from the HD rumble. That's all well and good, and the visual/music combination gives off a soft, warm vibe. I'd almost call it iyashikei, though that term already seems increasingly nebulous as time passes.
Then suddenly, you're thrown into Asuka's fantasies, all of which are riffs on something blatantly sexual, and you get to massage her all over while she makes noises that would make anyone on the subway who heard them think you're doing something quite naughty. Yeah, I know Senran Kagura's a boob game first and foremost, but the shift in tone from “soft and sweet interaction” to “vaguely orgasmic squealing in some crazy dress-up roleplay touch fantasy” is almost comically jarring. And boy oh boy, does the repetitive massaging get old fast.
The moment when I stopped giving the game the “okay, maybe it's just not for me” treatment was when, out of nowhere, Asuka and I were in a thinly-veiled brother/sister relationship fantasy where simple headpats quickly became something deeply uncomfortable. HONK HONK WE'RE ON THE ROAD TO NOPESVILLE, TIME TO TURN THIS THING AROUND AND HEAD BACK TO WINNIPEG
So anyway. Senran Kagura Reflexions: it's lousy. It's not that long before Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal comes out, you're better off waiting for that.
URNOTE FOR THE PLAYSTATION MINI, MEGADRIVE CLASSIC GETS A DELAY
Sony Computer Entertainment dropped a big announcement right before TGS: they, too, are getting into the miniaturized nostalgia market with the Sony PlayStation Classic, which launches this December. Wow, just in time for the holidays!
The system comes with 20 games pre-loaded. Thus far, we know five of them: Final Fantasy VII, Wild Arms, Ridge Racer R4, Jumping Flash, and Tekken 3. No word on if the game selection will be the same worldwide or if there will be variances by territory, but it wouldn't surprise me, given that many of the PSOne games folks are most nostalgic for vary wildly between Japan, Europe, and North America.
You've probably already noticed, however, that the controllers don't have the dual-analog sticks that became standard around 1998 or so. It's a bit of a puzzling omission, especially with the analog-heavy Ridge Racer R4 already announced to be on the platform. (It'll make a Gran Turismo game feel a bit weird, too, assuming one of them makes it on there.)
Something I'm wondering about, however, is what sort of market Sony's aiming this at. The PlayStation hit the market when M rated games were becoming more and more commonplace, and stuff like Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid helped to define the platform. Will Sony put games like those on the PlayStation Mini, or do they plan to target the same “nostalgic parents who want to share their games with their kids” market Nintendo is focusing on and keep the game selection limited to E- and T-rated titles? We'll just have to wait and find out.
Sega's also got their Mega Drive Mini waiting in the wings, though it's going to miss its projected late 2018 release date. The reasoning is to improve the console's quality: they're apparently “working with Japanese software developers” to ensure something fans will be happy with, which many have taken to mean that they're no longer working with the controversial AtGames (who've made a bunch of those crappy Genesis plug-n-plays you've seen at Walgreens). They also confirmed a European and US release for the system, though I'm sure it'll be called the “Genesis Mini” here in North America.
Meanwhile, there still isn't a N64 Classic or a Saturn Mini (which is perhaps our last hope for an affordable Panzer Dragoon Saga re-release) but given the way things are going I'd expect to see those within a year.
JUDGE EYES GETS MORE SEGA ARCADE GAMES TO LOVE
One thing I love about the Yakuza series is the fact that they often contain numerous Sega arcade games you can just play around with when you want to take a break from being a badass for a while. Hell, Yakuza 6 had the full Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown game inside of it, which is pretty amazing! And going from early Tokyo Game Show reports, Judge Eyes will offer players even more arcade ports to enjoy within the game centers of Kamurocho.
Two games have been announced: Fighting Vipers (a particularly beloved title of mine) and Motor Raid. While Fighting Vipers has been released before, this will be the first-ever home port of Motor Raid, a very cool futuristic bike racing game where you can attack your competition with guns and beam swords. It's a delightful little mid-90s arcade racer, and it's nice to see it back in the spotlight.
Being the huge Sega nerd that I am, I'm crossing my fingers that the continuing adventures of the Kamurocho crew will spur more arcade ports. Maybe we can finally get Model 3 games like Virtua Fighter 3, Fighting Vipers 2, and Scud Race...
YUGI AND CREW ARE SENT TO THE UNCANNY VALLEY IN JUMP FORCE
Oh nice, Yugi and friends are coming to Jump Force! I was thinking they were likely to be omitted, given that Yu-Gi-Oh! is tied closely to Konami, and modern Konami does not always play well with others unless they're Nintendo.
But after looking at them in screenshots, um… it feels like a monkey's paw scenario. Yes, we get Yu-Gi-Oh! characters, but they look like THIS:
I don't think I'll get much blowback when I say “Holy hell, Yugi and crew just do not translate to this visual style well AT ALL.” Between those huge, dead eyes and the simultaneously realistic-looking but completely unbelievable hair, it's a stunning aesthetic mess.
Also announced just as I'm writing this are Kurapika and Killua from Hunter x Hunter, who fare a bit better but still look kind of off in a way that's hard to describe. I think it's something to do with the eyes: they all have this weird over-glossy look that feels like you're staring at a mannequin or something. Bamco, you gotta do something about those shaders.
- Hey, Raphael's in Soul Calibur VI. What a surprise!
- Resonance of Fate is coming to PS4 and PC in a remastered edition! Boy, it sure is a good time for re-releases of unique, experimental JRPGs you probably missed last gen.
- Puyo Puyo eSports, which leaked via the South Korean ratings board last week, was officially confirmed by Sega. Now we just need to convince Nintendo to make Yoshi's Cookie eSports.
- Speaking of Korean ratings leaks, apparently there's a Castlevania collection for PS4 containing Symphony of the Night and Rondo of Blood in the cards. I'm wondering if it's a port of that odd Dracula X Chronicles PSP game.
- Catherine: Full Body has a new trailer showcasing more of Rin (who is called “Qatharine” on the game's Japanese website) and more new gameplay features.
It's a solid week for re-releases, especially if you own a Switch. CAPCOM Beat-Em-Up Bundle is hitting Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 (the Steam version's been delayed a smidge), and it's got basically every worthwhile CAPCOM arcade beat-em-up that didn't have a license attached to it. Its also got a cool ad.
Undertale just hit Switch too, so if you somehow missed that back when it was the hottest thing in online fandom, you can catch up! I'm hearing there are a few new bits in the game, as well, though apparently they're the sort of little things that are thrown there to fuel rumors and speculation amongst fans. I do love it when devs deliberately engage the fans who dig deep into the game.
There's good stuff for RPG fans on Switch, too. Torna: The Golden Country, a massive expansion for Xenoblade Chronicles 2, sees release this week, as does NIS dungeon-crawl Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk.
And that about wraps things up here. I'm going to kick back for a bit and work on an ongoing game-related project of mine while keeping tabs on all the TGS news. Take care, folks!
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